Rhiannon and instructor Elsa at the end of the three-day workshop. Indigo hands!
The third and last day of the three-day Oaxaca Natural Dye Workshop brings together all the preparation of the first two days in a culminating extravaganza of rich, deep color.
The beauty of natural dyes: deep, rich color, a rainbow to weave with
The movement toward using natural dyes is taking hold around the world. It is an environmentally healthy process that is non-toxic and sustainable. Here in Oaxaca more weavers are using natural dyes for their beauty and because it’s what eco-minded textile lovers want.
Rhiannon’s shibori scarf comes out of the indigo dye bath
On this last day, we prepare the indigo dye bath to color cotton and wool blue. We also use the indigo for overdyeing. This gives us a rainbow of colors.
As the color oxidizes, it changes from yellow to green to blue — magic
Elsa shows the film about the small village on the southern coast of Oaxaca, Santiago Niltepec, where two families remain who preserve the ancient tradition of growing the indigo plant and making it into dye material. All the indigo that Elsa uses is native to Oaxaca.
Rhiannon’s blue shibori scarf dries on the clothesline
Cochineal gives us red, orange purple and pink depending on the color of the wool, the number of dips in the dye bath, and whether we use an acid or base to modify the color.
Rhiannon wears her finished indigo shibori scarf
When cochineal is overdyed with indigo, the wool becomes deep purple or lavender or mauve, depending on the strength of the dye bath and the natural wool color.
Cochineal red and with and indigo overdye, royal purple
Variations of indigo blue, depending on wool color and number of dye dips
Pomegranate (granada) dye on grey and white wool
Pomegranate (granada) changes from sand yellow to green with indigo overdye
We love this purple and bright fuchsia made with brazil wood (grey and white wool)
My project, making a shibori cotton textile — sewing into cloth for dye resist
My project after immersion in the indigo dye bath
My project after taking out the threads to reveal the dye resist design
Rhiannon’s samples: mahogany dyed shibori gets an indigo overdye (top sample)
Rhiannon made these silk-steel tassels, dyed tips with cochineal, for jewelry project
Elsa dyed this cotton shirt with mahogany — color deepens in direct sun
Cochineal in an acid dye bath — brilliant scarlet
Wild marigold (pericone) before dipping into the indigo
Mahogany dipped in indigo sampler after removal from the dye bath
At the end of the day, dye formulas with color swatches for each example
And a memorable learning experience that is both rewarding and fun.
Hanging the yarn samples to dry, labeling them for the recipe cards
Natural dye workshop is on a rooftop terrace in Oaxaca’s historic center
Oaxaca Natural Dye Workshops from Oaxaca Cultural Navigator
Khadi Oaxaca Clothing Now Comes in Yardage, Too
Khadi Oaxaca makes hand-spun organic cotton. Over 100 indigenous women participate in this cooperative located in the Oaxaca mountains halfway between the Oaxaca city and the coast. It takes about three hours to get there.
Dress with rolled sleeves and patch pockets.
At the winter Museo Textil de Oaxaca expoventa (show and sale), Khadi Oaxaca presented an extensive selection of beautiful clothing — mostly ponchos, quechquemitls, huipils and men’s shirts. Some of the textiles are woven on the back strap loom and others on the counterbalance pedal loom also called a flying shuttle loom.
There was lots to choose from, including bolts of beautiful handwoven material. The cotton is dyed with indigo, pericone (wild marigold) and Khadi Oaxaca also harvests and spins coyuchi, a caramel-colored, very soft wild cotton indigenous to Oaxaca and becoming very rare.
Khadi Oaxaca fabric close up, with neckline detail. Organic handspun cotton: indigo, coyuchi, pericone.
I was beside myself and had this urge to sew up a dress using a paper pattern I made from a favorite dress. I have made this dress design several times and the Khadi Oaxaca yardage was calling me. Especially the piece woven with coyuchi, indigo and pericone.
Yardage? Not exactly.
We are in Mexico and fabric length is measured in meters, not yards. We measured the dress I was wearing (one of the favorites) and decided I needed four meters, compensating for the fact that the cloth is 15-1/4″ wide. There are 0.914 meters to the yard or 1.093 yards to the meter. Never mind that after cutting out the pattern, I was substantially short! Could I make this dress sleeveless? I think not.
The Museo Textile de Oaxaca has Khadi Oaxaca textile lengths for sale. When I sent a message to Khadi Oaxaca, they told me they would bring the meters I needed to museum! Thank you and hallelujah for great customer service. Price: 350 pesos per meter.
Patch pockets. French seams! Love the slubs and irregularities of the weave.
After the intensity of our Oaxaca Women’s Creative Writing and Yoga Retreat last week that I fully participated in, writing about mother, father, family and home, I loved the down-time that this project gave me. I’ll be writing about the retreat in days to come.
Posted in Cultural Commentary, Oaxaca Mexico art and culture, Textiles, Tapestries & Weaving, Travel & Tourism
Tagged cotton, coyuchi, dress design, fabric, indigo, Khadi Oaxaca, Mexico, Oaxaca, pericone, Sewing, textiles, wild marigold, yardage