Oaxacan Textiles: Tres Colores, Natural Dyes – Indigo, Cochineal and Caracol

In January/February 2011 at the Museo Arte Popular Oaxaca – in San Bartolo Coyotepec (south of the city of Oaxaca) there was an exhibit of the very best textiles that the state of Oaxaca has to offer. We might even say – the MOST exceptional textiles of the highest quality. These were commissioned and collected by Remigio Maestas, who has been working with 250 indigenous Oaxacan artisans for many years, throughout the state, to encourage and support development and production of fine textiles. The theme of this exhibit was ‘Tres Colores – Indigo, Cochineal and Caracol” since the textiles, which were hand-woven on backstrap looms, demonstrated the natural dyes of the state of Oaxaca. All the textiles; huipiles, some in lienzos (woven strips), garments, shawls were traditional in design – but each artists interpreted her/his traditional textile using the three natural dyes in a very personal and creative way. The outcome was an outstanding exhibit full of beauty and grace and even some surprises! Remigio’s goal is to elevate traditional textiles from artisania (hand-craft) to ART…well demonstrated by this exhibit.

Attached is my YouTube slide show of the exhibit listing the village from which the textile came. I will also provide the artist’s name if you contact me. Enjoy the fine textiles and the Tres Colores de Oaxaca!

If you are in the city of Oaxaca you can visit Remigio’s store Los Baules de Juana Cata inside the entrance to Las Danzantes’ Restaurant on Alcala #403 – 2 – near Santo Domingo church. Also Remigio has a Los Baules in the Museo Texitle de Oaxaca. A wonderful textiles museum shop.

10 thoughts on “Oaxacan Textiles: Tres Colores, Natural Dyes – Indigo, Cochineal and Caracol

    • Hi there – yes, this is Lila Downs (whose mother is Oaxacan) and I think you can find it on iTunes – “Naila’ is the name of the song. It’s a traditional and famous Oaxacan song….but not sure the name of the album – but iTunes will know.

      • I did a little more research today and Naila comes from Lila Downs album – La Zandunga. One of her first albums where she sings more traditional Mexican/Oaxacan songs. Hope this helps

  1. Pingback: Textiles of Oaxaca / Remigio Maestes – Intern.Folk Art Market 2012 – Santa Fe, NM « Living Textiles of Mexico

  2. Dear Sheri
    I would love to know more about the artisans who made the following pieces in the art show: San Pablo Mitla, Jamiltec, Santa Maria Penoles.
    I can tell you more about myself in a private email?

  3. Pingback: Oaxaca’s Remigio Mestas Revilla: Textiles That Feed the Spirit | Oaxaca Cultural Navigator : Norma Hawthorne

  4. hi, Nan

    i search lots website and find your. I’m a Taiwan Journalist, Aya Wang, will visit Mexico this late month. i’m interesting in write a story about Cochineal, nature dyes. But all i will stay just two cities, Guanajuato and Mexico City. Do you think it’s possible to find a Cochineal farm to interview farms and film breeding ? Like this http://www.aztecacolor.com/entradaig.htm This farm is nice but too far for our footage. Kindly help me, i think there maybe can find in Milpa Alta, but i don’t know how to do. Thanks! Welcome wirte to me aya4934@gmail.com

    • Hi Aya – The only cochineal farms I know are in Oaxaca which is the state south of Mexico City. The climate has to be perfect for cochineal to propagate so there are very few place it can grow. Oaxaca was the center of cochineal cultivation during the colonial times and Spain made lots of money selling to the world. So I’m sorry you won’t find a cultivation or farms in other parts of Mexico. Aztecacolor near San Bartolo Yautepec (near Oaxaca City) is the closest. Don’t know about Milpa Alta sorry.
      It’s cheap to take the bus from Mexico City – only abut $50US and 5 hrs. It will be the best to go there. Get a taxi to the farm – easy and about $20.
      Good Luck,

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