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Ambacht in Beeld Festival
30 & 31 March 2024
Brussels - Tour & Taxis Gare Maritime

| Aquarel with traditional Mexican pigments

Thamara Cruz - Saturday 30 maart & Sunday 31 maart
2 hours
€ 25
Minimum age:
16 years
Saturday 30 maart
Sunday 31 maart

What is the Mexican carmine red? It has a special intensity and brilliant shine. This color comes from an insect that grows on a cactus called “Nopal”. This edible cactus serves as a home for the “Cochinilla” to reproduce. Today, cochineal is produced in Mexico and painters and contemporary artists use it to create works of art.


In this workshop you will take a journey through the history of the Grana Cochinilla (cochineal aphid): What does it look like? Where is it produced? What is it? Where does it come from and how is it used? You will be able to see in detail how the natural fiber dyeing process works and how the pigment can be used to create other products, including painting a watercolor. After this demonstration you will get to work with the pigments yourself by creating a colorful watercolor.


Thamara Cruz is from Mexico, and has lived in Belgium since 2010. She is a traditional textile designer, graduated from the EDINBA National School. Through her commitment to social development and the promotion of the craft sector, she has participated in the implementation of rural, social and community projects. She is an employee and co-founder of Desarrollo de Proyectos Artesanales y Diseño DEPROART A.C. in Mexico and SIEMPRE in Belgium, an organization whose mission is to make citizen participation visible.


Mexico has a great textile tradition. The entire process is 100% artisanal. For many women, weaving cloth means that they can work autonomously, and it is a craft that they can pursue alongside all their other duties. The women find and dye the threads themselves.


As a child, Thamara was intrigued by the women who made cloth with seven sticks. Those sticks stayed in the air almost all the time. To her it had something of sorcery, magic. As a child, she learned to weave as it is customary in her country: sitting with a group of women who weaved and talked. In this way, she acquired the technology unconsciously, such as learning a language. Later the women showed how to do something. By repeating it a lot, she learned to interpret the weaving patterns. She became enchanted by it. To such an extent that she later went on to study industrial textiles. This knowledge of both techniques remains one of her many strengths to this day.

Erfgoedcel Brussel.


This workshop is made possible by Erfgoedcel Brussel. 



A colorful watercolor made with Mexican carmine red by Alejandro Martínez.

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