Dyeing in Oaxaca: Part one

A few months ago I received an email from Hannahlie, the owner of Hinterland Farm, a local Victoria company. She produces wool using fibers from her herd of alpacas mixed with other Canadian wool. Hanahlie wrote to tell me about a recidencey trip she was putting together to Oaxaca, Mexico with textiles as the main focus and asked if I would be interested in joining. Hell yes! I've been to Oaxaca a few times in the 1990's and fell in love with the place. This city has a vibrant textile and art scene that I've always wanted to go back. What a great way to explore Oaxaca, the culture and the food. I'm so happy I said yes. This was one of the best travel experiences to date. After a long flight made extra extra long due to my own ineptitude (I should do a post on travel tips for the absent minded) I made to the bed and breakfast that will be our home for the next nine days, El Diablo y la Sandia. I would recommend this hotel if you are ever in Oaxaca. The first two days were filled with an intense natural dyeing workshop at the home studio of Elsa and Eric. A husband and wife team that dye fibers for many of the local artisans. We used indigo, cochineal, birch wood, wild marigold andpomegranate to make twenty colours.   img_8989 The cochineal is a parasite of the prickly pear cactus that makes the most amazing red dye and has a great history. img_9058 Dye pots of wool in cochineal. The freshly dyed skeins of wool hanging to dry. Would you have guessed that the pale yellow is what you get when you boil the rind of pomegranates. img_9613 My little wool balls of colour along with a rug I bought made by Eric's dad, a local artisan, that uses many of the same dyes. screen-shot-2016-10-23-at-10-26-17-am My new friends and fellow dyers along with our teachers Eric and Elsa. FYI: I am wearing the Saturday Tunic, which by the way, is an excellent dress to travel in. Learning to dye with plants was an eye opening experience. The time and care it takes to produce these amazing colours found in nature make me appreciate even more the artisans who work hard to be good stewards to mother earth. Cheers, Trish Links you might be interested in: Hinterland Farms El Diablo y la Sandia Eric and Ella Cochineal Saturday Tunic

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