indigo master class

Aboubakar Fofana & Awonoyoh present
Real Fermented Indigo Master Class
/Fujino,Japan/April1-8 or April11-18,2020

Aboubakar Fofana & Awonoyoh present
Real Fermented Indigo Master Class
Fujino,Japan April1-8 or April11-18,2020

Aboubakar Fofana and Awonoyoh are offering two master indigo dye and textile courses to spread real living indigo dyeing to the world and pass it on to future generations.


Aboubakar Fofana

Aboubakar Fofana was born in West Africa but spent many years living and working in France. His atelier is in Bamako, Mali, where he and his small team of trained artisans produce unique modern textiles using 100% natural processes and ancient indigenous techniques.

As a child in West Africa, Aboubakar Fofana was told about green leaves that made blue colours. Years later, already a successful calligrapher, artist and graphic designer living in France, he remembered this story, and started on a long journey to understand indigo and his African heritage.

The technique of fermented indigo dyeing using whole indigo leaves had already disappeared from West Africa by the time Fofana first heard about it, replaced by synthetic dyes. Fofana pieced together the technique by reading and asking, and by trial and error. It took many years to understand the process and longer again to master this difficult but unmatchable method of dyeing. And he is still learning.

His work reflects the living materials he uses, harnessing their cycles of birth, life and decay, and the seasonal rhythms of nature. His indigo vats are alive as well, the colour a visible imprint of these natural cycles, and the most challenging part of his work is understanding and working with the living things to allow these colours to become visible.

He uses fine natural fabrics to take up these colours, with a preference for the luxurious organic Malian cotton, handspun and handwoven, that many of his pieces are made from.
Fofana is dedicated to preserving this tradition of fermented indigo dyeing, along with other West African textile techniques and indigenous materials. His work has been exhibited all over the world.

Takayuki Ishii

Takayuki Ishii is an indigo dye artisan who was born in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.
He currently owns a workshop in the mountainous area of Kanagawa Prefecture, where he runs an indigo dyeing company using traditional techniques and materials.

Ishii started contemplating about a sustainable society right after the nuclear power plant accident during the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and knew about indigo dyeing.
Polluted water used in chemical dyeing flows through the river to the sea and destroys the ecosystem. However, the indigo dye that he uses is a sustainable and natural pigment that can become fertilizer for the land or food for the fishes.

Ishii studied indigo dyeing at an indigo dyeing workshop in Tokyo, and then visited many workshops in different parts of Japan to acquire even more knowledge and techniques on indigo dyeing. Also, he learned and mastered all the procedures necessary for traditional Japanese textile dyeing: yarn, fabric, katazome, shibori, tsutsugaki,batik, and others.

Currently, there are only six artisans who produce raw material for indigo dye (sukumo) in Japan. The aging Japanese population, which has become a major social problem in Japan, has made it more difficult to obtain sukumo every year.
This is a complicated problem in the Japanese textile industry.

Ishii grows the indigo plants and produces sukumo by himself to preserve the traditional method of indigo dyeing.
Also, he passes on his knowledge to many people and works hard to preserve the traditional way of Japanese textile dyeing.

Click on photo for details.
Dye Vat Building
Sukumo Making
Indigo Dyeing
Click on photo for details.
Indigo Dyeing
Mud dyeing
Pine Soot dyeing
Plants dyeing
Persimmon dyeing (Kakishibu)
Fujino is a small town with a population of 10,000 people, surrounded by the mountains and located one hour by train from Tokyo. Steiner School and Permaculture Japan are also located there, and there are also many artists, creators, and nature-oriented people who reside there. Fujino is a town that forms its own community and embodies a recycling society that coexists with nature.
Indigo master class1-limited to 10 participants.
Indigo master class2-limited to 10 participants.
To apply, fill in the following PDF and attach it to the email. You will be selected by email content.
Payment is made via Paypal and Non-cancelable and non-refundable.


 $5,250 USD/ indigo master class1
 $5,250 USD/ indigo master class2

All sales are final. This workshop is non-cancellable and non-refundable. Transportation, first and final night lodging in Tokyo (if needed) and roundtrip airfare are not included. We will provide details on travel to Fujino after registration. The total fee includes the fees for lectures/instructors (Aboubakar Fofana, Takayuki Ishii, and other experts), dormitory-style accommodation, home-cooked Japanese meals for 8 days.
*This class focuses on learning indigo dyeing and Japanese textile techniques, and is held in a 150-year old silk cultivation farmhouse with stairs.
Meals are family style and sleeping arrangements are rustic. It is similar to facilities generally found in Japanese homes.
*The accommodation is similar to dormitory style in a shared room, not a single room. Each person sleeps in a space closed off by curtains.
*You will sleep on a futon on the floor, not on a bed.
*Valuables are stored in lockers.
*Bath towels and face towels are available.
*Meals will be cooked at the farmhouse and feature traditional home-cooked Japanese farm fare. Japanese food features soup stocks made from fish, and soy sauce contains gluten. Unfortunately, we will be unable to handle vegetarian/vegan or food allergy requests.
292-1, Sanogawa, Midori-ku, Sagamihara-shi, Kanagawa, 252-0181, Japan