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Botanical Contact Printing in Color
Alison Kelly
from Flora Obscura

March 12-18, 2023

in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico


Join us for a week-long workshop in stunning San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Alison will illustrate the basics of botanical contact printing: a process in which one lays leaves and flowers onto cloth to be bundled and steamed, during which time the imprint, shadow and pigment of the flora is transmuted into the cloth. This workshop is a celebration of the amazing results one can achieve from plant-based dyes, minerals and flora: full of alchemy, flora and fun. 

Students leave with samples, instruction, their very own flower-dyed silk chiffon shawl and a botanically contact-printed silk wrap– all dyed by you– in class.


Retreat Venue

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San Miguel de Allende, Mexico is a World Heritage UNESCO puebla magia, not to mention voted one of the best places in the world to live by Conde Nast Traveler 2 years in a row. Linda Laino has lived in San Miguel for ten years and is working with Alison to facilitate the retreat. (more about San Miguel below).


We are sure you will be delighted with the accommodations and facilities! Casa de la Noche *is a former bordello steeped in history with the energy from the artists and musicians who passed through there in the 40’s and 50’s.

Today, owner Barbara Poole has been running the boutique hotel as a B&B and top notch event space for 20 years.


Being an artist herself, the hotel reflects her creative, eclectic sensibility. The colorful and well-appointed rooms and courtyards create a sense of old world discovery but with all the modern conveniences. It’s proximity to centro is a mere few blocks making it a super convenient and easy home base from which to explore San Miguel. *Note: the hotel does not have an elevator. Please enjoy  this  short video of the hotel.


We have deisgnated three price points for this retreat depending on your room choice:

$2545    Working girl

$2845    Deluxe

$2995    Suite

I'm a paragraWhat's Included

  • Six nights accommodations

  • 24 hours workshop time

  • Studio space available 24/7

  • Welcome dinner with Margaritas

  • Breakfast daily

  • Group excursion to Hot Springs

  • All materials + silk shawl and silk wrap

  • Taxi fare to Hot Springs

  • Farewell dinner

What's Not Included

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  • Airfare

  • Meals (except where indicated)

  • Tips

  • Airport shuttle

  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)


Please make your reservations to arrive at

Leon (BJX) or Queretaro(QRO) airports.* Information about easy and reliable shuttle service will be shared with participants. Please note, if you decide to fly into Mexico City, it is another four hours to San Miguel.

*Note: Please wait to make your flight arrangements until we inform you the retreat is full.

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An example of what to expect:

  • How to prepare and mordant silk and other natural fibers for dyeing.

  • How to achieve rich and colorful results from the eco-printing process. 

  • How to create alluring mirror-image, concise and clear leaf prints.

  • How to achieve bright and saturated background colors.

  • Various ways one can work with the ancient natural dyes of Mexico: featuring a joyous cochineal, a sunny marigold and rich logwood.

  • Participants will leave with a final project, various samples and written instruction.

Sunday, March 12

 6:00 Arrival/welcome dinner with margaritas!

Monday, March 13Let’s prepare our

fabrics for dyeing by going over a

simple mordant recipe for silk and

other natural fibers (wool, cotton,

linen).  We’ll discuss the process of

botanical contact printing and go over

which plants to use for vivid results.

We’ll work with what can be found

locally, and what can be dried for later

use.  We will use vintage napkins to

make a personal set of eco-printed

pieces for your table.


Wednesday, March 15

Morning off to explore the town…

An introduction to Dyeing with Cochineal: We will practice various ways in which one can use the ubiquitous native Mexican dye, through eco-printing with a cochineal “blanket” to create a striking background color, to bundle dyeing techniques & natural dyeing methods.

 Have the morning off to explore

the town!



Tuesday, March 14


Introduction to Dyeing with

Marigold: We will discover


ways in which one can use the

native tagetes erecta, through

eco-printing, bundle dyeing and

natural dyeing.

We’ll learn to make a yellow

background with marigolds

with a colorful carrier blanket.

We’ll unwrap our marigold

samples and go over the results.

We’ll learn how to make shades

of green by over-dyeing the

marigold with indigo.

Each student will dye a silk robe!

Thursday, March 16

We will open our Cochineal bundles from the previous day and go over results, discoveries and notes.  Introduction to Dyeing with Pomegranate: We’ll go over various ways one can implement pomegranate fruit into the botanical printing process and how to create multiple tones with the rinds.  We’ll open our Pomegranate samples and revel in the results.  Final project will be made! 


Friday, March 17

We will open our bundles and reveal the results of our final projects. We’ll iron and steam the final pieces.  Open studio time will be available for those who wish to experiment a bit more with the processes with guidance from Alison. 


6:00 Farewell Dinner.

Saturday, Maarch 18

Breakfast and shuttle to airport.

Please let Linda know if you'd like to be part of a tour of San Miguel artist studios in the morning.

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Reserve Your Room

In order to reserve your spot, please click here, choose your room, fill out the registration form, note your room choice in the form and send a $500 non-refundable deposit to through  Zelle or Paypal.  All final payments are due by December 1, 2022.

Please Note:  For Paypal, PLEASE use the "friends and family" option, otherwise, please add in the 3% fee. There is no extra fee to pay through Zelle.

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About Alison Kelly

Alison Kelly is a textile artist and clothing designer living and working between Brooklyn, New York and Cape Cod, Massachusetts. In college, Alison spent time studying Fine Arts in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. On a side trip to Oaxaca, she discovered the realm of ancient natural dyes, where native artisans utilized plant and insect-based dyes to create stunning hues for handspun yarns. Inspired by what she learned in Mexico she launched Flora Obscura New York, an eco-print clothing line dedicated to working in harmony with nature. She has collaborated on a collection of beautiful silk pieces both for the body and the home with J. Crew. For the last six years Alison has been fully immersed in the process of natural dyes and has created dynamic methods for coaxing the color and spirit of plants into cloth.


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About San Miguel de Allende

Mexico is a huge country that offers its visitors an amazing amount of diversity. San Miguel de Allende is located in the geographical center of the country and is said to be built upon a bed of crystal quartz. Many people believe this legend aids in the “magical” quality so often associated with this town. San Miguel is a peaceful, safe environment, full of friendly people, sophistication and charm to spare. It is small, but far from sleepy. The streets are always full of visitors and locals in a lively and festive atmosphere.

There is more than plenty to see and do on off hours during the retreat. The weather in September is temperate. Most days you can count on very cool mornings, warm to hot sunny afternoons, and slightly cooler evenings. Think layers and bring a light sweater. There is virtually no humidity. San Miguel is quite hilly in parts, and the streets are cobbled. You will most likely be doing a lot of walking (the best way to see the town!), so we suggest to bring good shoes.

We are at 6000 feet and if you have not been in high altitudes, you may feel a bit tired the first day or two. Luckily, there are numerous cafes, parks and plazas for rest and refreshments all over town. There are also ample and inexpensive cabs (and Uber) available should you need a break from the walking. The cab drivers, incidentally are some of the best locals to practice your Spanish with!

The web is full of articles and videos about San Miguel. Here are two to whet your whistle:

"The Best City in the World"

"San Miguel de Allende Travel Guide"

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About Linda Laino



Linda is an artist, writer and teacher who received her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va. She has lived in San Miguel de Allende for almost ten years where she formally taught English Language Arts and continues to paint and write. She has organized writing and painting retreats of her own in San Miguel and is recently sharing her love and knowledge of this charming and colorful town with other artists and teachers. Her many pleasures in San Miguel include terrace cocktails with friends, hiking in the countryside and feeding the hummingbirds. Her painting and writing can be accessed here:

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Retreat Waiver

All participants are asked to download and sign the waiver form and provide  emergency contact info. Please email

Linda will provide all participants with a "Survival Guide" with lots of info about SMA, recommended restaurants and useful phone numbers.

Cancellation Policy Please Review

We understand that it is sometimes difficult to plan ahead for a trip such as this and these uncertain times have created a bit more challenge. We thank you for your understanding the need for these policies on our end.

The $500 deposit is NON-refundable. That means, if you pay the deposit and before you pay your balance, you decide to cancel, there is no refund. Once you pay your balance, there is no refund. All balances are due December  1, 2022.  

If we decide to cancel the retreat for any reason, then all money will be returned, including deposit (minus any paypal or credit card fees). We need at least five students for the workshop to go. For this reason we strongly advise that you wait to make your flight reservations until you hear from us. 


If it becomes impossible to travel due to a government mandate or border restrictions, in this case, we will not refund any money but attempt to reschedule the retreat. Note: Mexico never closed its borders to travelers during 2020. Mask and tracing mandates, as well as sanitary precautions are still taking place as a rule here in San Miguel.


We look forward to welcoming you to San Miguel in 2023! Please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions. For more info on the workshop, please contact Alsion: For questions about San Miguel, please contact Linda:

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