So, you are coming to Oaxaca for Day of the Dead!
Here is a chance to get beyond the sugar skulls and cemeteries, the masks and parades, and go deeper into the natural dye traditions of our wonderful region without leaving the city of Oaxaca.
Put your hands into the indigo dye bath. Watch them turn blue: A Day of the Dead Badge of Distinction. (OK, you can wash it off with soap and water, if you want.)
Blue hands, mark of distinction!
Natural dyes have been used by indigenous people of Oaxaca to color wool, cotton and silk for centuries. It thrives today among a small group of local artisans dedicated to preserving cultural history.
Blue Hands Special:
2-Day Day of the Dead Natural Dye Workshop
Sunday and Monday, October 28-29, 2017 OR
Friday and Saturday, November 3-4, 2017
10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
$250* per person, 4 participants maximum each session
*Bring a friend, get a discount, pay $225 for each
We are based in a Centro Historico neighborhood within walking distance (about six city blocks) from Oaxaca’s Zocalo — downtown plaza.
Plant materials and cochineal for making dyes, wool dye sampler
The hands-on workshop includes 10 hours of instruction to learn about Oaxaca´s natural dye traditions, materials and techniques used in the Central Valley of Oaxaca.
Natural dye sampler, another version
The workshop focuses on understanding how the chemistry of natural dyes act on the protein fibers (we use wool), and how this can be reproduced in your home or studio using local materials.
Pomegranate, great dye source
The workshop includes cochineal, indigo, pomegranate, marigolds, and brazilwood to create 16 different colors. Participant will receive recipes and put together a sampler of each natural dye color created on hand-spun 100% churro sheep wool.
Overdyeing wild marigold with indigo
Sourcing local materials
Discussing Oaxaca natural dye traditions
Understanding fibers and how they react to dye
Mordanting, and how it works
Extracting color — sampling for intensity
Preparing the natural indigo vat
Dyeing and over-dyeing to get color range
Limited availability: 4 participants for each workshop
To register, contact: Norma Schafer, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC
We will send you an invoice to pre-pay with PayPal. When we receive funds, we will confirm your registration and send you instructor contact information, and a map.
Natural dyes on cotton
The workshop includes instruction, all materials, recipes and the sampler. It does not include beverages, snacks or lunch. We suggest you bring your own if you get thirsty or hungry.
Blue hands in the dye bath
About the Dye Studio
We hold the dye workshops on the rooftop terrace of a home located in the City of Oaxaca, only 10 minutes walking from the main square of the capital. The studio was founded by two artisans, wife and husband, who are committed to preserving natural dye traditions. The wife is a native of Oaxaca City. The husband is a fourth generation member of a family of weavers and dyers in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca. Both are bilingual, speaking Spanish and English.
Acid and base chemistry for color changes in cochineal
For the last 12 years, the couple has focused on natural dyeing processes and traditions. Their experience includes researching local indigo and cochineal, collaborating with local and international dyers, experimenting with recipes and testing fastness of the colors on both protein (wool, silk) and cellulose fibers (cotton, linen, hemp).
Both have taught dye workshops in universities, cultural centers and museums in Mexico, the United States and Europe. Currently, the studio provides the service of dyeing fibers for local artisan weavers and teaching workshops.
Washing, mordanting the wool
Wild marigold skein, and cochineal with indigo over-dye