Color Intensity of Natural Dyes from Oaxaca Sources

Today I changed the banner of the blog to give you a picture of the range of intense colors we got from the natural dye workshop we just completed with Eric Chavez Santiago.  Eric is one of Mexico’s most knowledgeable dye masters and his techniques include how to extract the color without wasting it.


We started with three colors only — cochineal, indigo and fustic — red, blue and yellow.  By over-dyeing and using various shades of natural wool, plus the chemistry of using an acid or a base with the color, we were able to get the amazing, rich colors that you see in the banner photo. They are all colorfast.

DyeWorkshopJan_Group-24 DyeWorkshopJan_Group-61

I will be writing more about this in the next few days and publishing more photos.  But in the meantime, I wanted you to see what our group accomplished during this three-day workshop.


The next natural dye workshop is in March 2014. Let me know if you want to participate.



4 responses to “Color Intensity of Natural Dyes from Oaxaca Sources

  1. Hello Norma, The colors and hues derived from natural dyes are spectacular. I have two questions somewhat related. First, indigo is often used in Teotitlan, but it is actually produced elsewhere in Mexico. Do you know where it is cultivated and processed to wind up with the solid dye? Second, if I wanted a rug to use in a place in my home where it was likely to get wet (such as in a bathroom), would the safest thing to guard against the eventual running of colors be to have a tapete done of just pure non-dyed wool of different colors? Thanks! On a gray, rainy winter day it lifts one’s spirits to see the festive colors of beautifully dyed yarns from Oaxaca Jim.

    • Jim, the wild indigo is grown on the coast of Oaxaca in a village called Santiago Niltepec. I have used naturally dyed rugs woven by Eric’s father, Federico Chavez Sosa, on the floors of my North Carolina bathroom for years. Very sturday and the colors don’t change! Yes, wool colored with natural dyes is the best! Saludos, Norma

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