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One of those serendipitous moments while I was waiting to hear about possible dates for making a trip to learning about natural dyes and pigments here in Mexico, I’m just collecting my bag after going to an excellently curated show of Mexican crafts by Claudia Fernadez at Museo Tamayo, to my glee I see a sign for a two-day course in just that – Tintas Naturales  – natural pigments in the gallery’s education space – and told there is plenty of space, just turn up! Thank you universe!

Over the weekend we learn how to make dyes from yellow from Pericon (a dried flowering plant), red from grinding Cochnilla bugs that live on the nopal cactus and of course indigo (añil) for blue. We use a fibre from the maguey cactus called ‘ixtle’, wool and someone kindly gives me a bit of cotton canvas to do some shibori folding.

Alberto, who leading the workshop encouraged us to experiment and find out how different things like adding lime juice or bicarbonate soda effects the colours (cochineal mainly, and also to over-dye.

The educations space is a real find and is being run by Mariel whose family run a model making company, as she describes – making Mexico in miniature! We talk a lot about what things are made of – she’s interested in indexing materials and for the space has made a materials library encouraging visitors to feel and smell them.

Colour samples on the wall catch my eye – then I realise they’re just what I’m looking for – Earth samples, all different colours with labels of where they’re from!

Just being in Mexico has been such an inspiration in the use of colour. There is much more freedom of expression through colour and the combinations – pink yellow and blue houses. Big, bright and bold. Check out my Instagram for more pics…