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Organic Cotton Colored with Plant-Based Dyes


"I was born into a family of crafters. My mom and dad used to dyed fibers in small batches, in the same way I do it today. When I was a boy, while playing, I would give the pots a swirl here and there and help washing the wool. It was not until high school, when some tourists saw me weaving and asked me if I could make for them 6 rugs, that I really got interested.

Peruvian plants used for dying our organic cotton

Yellow is made with “Retama”, green with “Yerba Santa” and for the browns, we use “Nogal” (walnut). The “Chilca” and the “Salvia” gives us blue, the “Jarato” an incredibly intense orange but you can only find it in my wife’s town where it’s very warm. The roots of “Tancar” gives us also oranges in the same way as the “Huayllullo”. There is also one called “Palo del Inca” or Incan Stick to make blue but we haven’t been able to find it in a long time. The “Chochinilla”, a bug that grows in cactus, is for us a blessing. It gives us the darkest blues, purples, pinks and reds. From the “Pucalojo” roots and fruits we can get orange. We also use “Escorsonera” and the “Pachaiasalvia for an orange-yellow color.

As you see, there are an infinity of herbs that can be used and the majority of them come from the highlands. We take great pleasure using them as in this way we feel we are preserving the techniques used by our ancestors…





Oscar and his family use only plants,
cochinilla, and minerals to create our
all natural organic cotton color palette.
They gave me an advance payment with the condition that I would not leave school and that’s how I got started! Years later, with my wife we had a prosperous workshop in Huancayo but during the 80’s, we had to abandon it all and run to Lima escaping terrorism. It took us many years to recover and after doing a variety of jobs I started teaching natural dying and that is how I got back to the world of crafts.” Oscar, natural dyer.

You may also Print (PDF) or order our Color Story Sheet

Check our Organic Cotton Finger Puppets
and collect them all!

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