What are Ochres

Ochres are coloured clays that are found as a soft deposit, intermingled with pockets of harder crystalline iron ore, in fairly even horizontal layers, of variable thicknesses.  Different Ochre pigments extracted from different veins are then mixed to obtain selected colours.  This gives a fantastic range of strong colours.  Ochres exist all over the world, & can vary considerably in colour depending from where they are mined, from the yellowish brown of Italian Terre di Sienna, to the reddish brown of Spanish Ochre. The best yellow ochre’s are produced in France & for many artists, the pigment mines at Roussillon, Southern France, represent the most sought after source of fine earth pigments. The stone formations are stained with coloured clays in every conceivable iron oxide pigment from yellow to purple.

We have chosen to base our products on this range of colours to achieve a palette that can be used again and again for many different products.  These colours are beautifully natural and reflect nature’s capacity to create harmony. Ochre pigments provide depth as well as colour & reflect light. Ochres have the ability to produce pleasing results in almost any combination.  

Man has been using Ochres for centuries to do all sorts of painting - body painting, canvases, cloths, to paint buildings, colour floor tiles, & pottery. Nearly all of the earth pigments were in use in Minoan Times, they also formed the decorative palette of the Romans, as well as Medieval Church painters.  The Aboriginals have painted with Ochres for over 40,000 years, & Red Indians took their name from the Red Ochre they painted themselves with.   

Red Ochres have always had a strong importance in our history, & it is one of the most psychologically powerful colours. Several of the most important buildings in Rome were painted in red ochre’s.  

Yellow Ochre is the most universal traditional pigment. It is a warm, bright, rich colour, without any hint of greenness. The warmth of yellow ochre’s, ensures that it will fit into any climate, from warm Mediterranean climates, to the mellow Cotswold's.  

The word "ochre" is presumed to come from the Greek "ochros", i.e. pallid or pale yellow. It is slightly incorrect name due to the great strength of ochre colours, as well as the diversity in shades.  

The Chinese art of Feng Shui recommends the use of colour in living and working areas & in particular Ochres and all earth shades, as they give a feeling of stability, serenity and resistance to time.  The vibrations from these colours are very beneficial.  

However textiles dyed with Ochre powders are not resistant to repeated washing in modern machines, so we have developed a range of products dyed using Oeko-tex standards to match these beautiful colours. Oeko-tex is a process that tests for over 100 harmful substances to give you the cleanest / greenest materials you can buy.