Natural Ink Silkscreen Instructional Residency Program

Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
All Residency Programs + Dates in 2024 & 2025
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Arquetopia Natural Ink Silkscreen Residency 2023 2024
Note: The specific focus of this instructional residency program, and the resources provided, are in making natural inks for use in silkscreening
; it is not a course in silkscreening itself, nor a survey of other printmaking techniques.
 For general printmaking, we offer the non-instructional Printmaking Residency in Puebla.

This comprehensive, customized residency program offers offers competitive professional opportunities for emerging and mid-career, national and international artists age 20 and over.

From centuries ago to the present day, artists continue to engage in quests to find sources for the perfect colors. The region including modern day Mexico is abundant in plants, mineral, and animal colorants, and historically produced the knowledge and technology for a wide spectrum of colors, including red and purple hues, cochineal, the famous blue range of indigo, etc. Red and blue occupy a privileged place in the color hierarchy, and Mexican cochineal and indigo, being at the top of the scale, are highly valued around the world.

The inhabitants of Mesoamerica had long perfected ways to derive brilliant red colorant from the cochineal insect, selectively bred on its prickly pear cactus host, and to obtain blue coloring extract by farming the local indigofera tinctoria plants. Both colors have majorly impacted the development of the world through several centuries, with a singular and enduring importance in the history of commerce, science, politics, art and ideas. Before the European invasion of the Americas and through the Spanish colonial period, artists appear to continue deliberately choosing natural colors from among all available. El Greco, Tintoretto, Velázquez, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Gogh used them. Today, contemporary artists and designers continue to embrace natural colorants for their beauty and meaning. Globally, outside of the regions where cochineal and indigo, as well as other natural colorants, have a continuous history of cultural meaning and use, pockets of contemporary fashion designers have followed in the footsteps of early twentieth-century designers and their use of organic natural colors.

The Natural Ink Silkscreen Instructional Residency program acknowledges the rich history of color in Mexico by incorporating the knowledge of natural colorants with the silkscreen printing technique on fabric. This mentored program includes 3 weeks of master instruction (27 hours total; 9 hours per week) to understand the principles of natural colorants and their use in printing mediums through the technique of silkscreen applied on fabric. The program includes hands-on instruction with cochineal (ranging from red to purple), añil (blue), and pericon (yellow) from Mexico. Instruction is in Spanish, though resident artists need not speak Spanish in order to successfully complete the course. This residency is a comprehensive program to learn the natural colorant of Oaxaca, including resources for a better understanding of the complex culture of Mexico and the history of its colors. Individual mentoring is provided by our directorial and curatorial staff for personalized research assistance/resources, project guidance, and critique; participants of this program also work independently in our spaces.

Sessions of 3 weeks, with option to extend for 1 to 3 more weeks of continued production as a standard Art, Design or Photography Residency. Dates are not predetermined but are proposed by the applying artist.

Technique Instruction:
  • 27 hours master instruction (9 hours per week)
Staff Support:
  • Each resident artist meets weekly with our directorial and curatorial staff for personalized mentoring, research assistance/resources, project guidance, and critique
Accommodation and Local Transportation:
  • Furnished, private bedroom
  • 24-hour access to the kitchen for residents to prepare their own meals; residents are responsible for their own meals/food
  • Wireless Internet
  • Use of Arquetopia’s residency common spaces
  • Shared, serviced (single) bathrooms with modern fixtures and showers
  • Housekeeping
  • Downtown arrival pickup and departure dropoff transportation provided
  • Though cheap, everyday public transportation is also available from the residency vicinity into the city, Arquetopia also provides scheduled transportation into downtown Oaxaca once per week by van
Studio Workspace and Materials:
  • 24-hour access to shared studio
  • Personal workspace with large table
  • Some tools provided
  • Materials and supplies for the instructional course provided
  • Materials and supplies for extended project production not included but available for purchase locally

E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for program tuition info and application deadlines for this program.

Click here to apply for this instructional residency program.