Fernanda Mascarenhas recolhendo folhas de abacateiro na calçada

natural dyeing
and my story

As a performer, I have worked for more than 10 years with Fu Bu Myo In, a group directed by Toshi Tanaka and well known for using Japanese techniques in their performances. In 2015, I started to research natural dye techniques to develop the costume for a performance. This performance, called “Cada Passo” (Each Step), was created by me and was shown at Casa do Sertanista Museum in 2016. Since then, the endless natural dyeing world enchanted me so much that I have been dedicated fully to discovering more colours, plants, and forms.

In 2016, Cada Passo´s costume won the gold medal in an artcraft context, the 10th Bunkyo Great Exhibition of Art, in São Paulo, SP. This prize allowed me to travel to Japan. In this wonderful country, I have a rare opportunity to learn about traditional Japanese ways of natural dyeing and weaving. I have visited three wonderful places: Ars Shimura School in Kyoto, which was founded by master artisan Fukumi Shimura; The Little Indigo Museum in Miyama, which was created by textile artist Hiroyuki Shindo; and the Dye Plant Botanical Garden in Takasaki.

Since then I have been going deeper and deeper into the artisan making of textile art, focused on natural dyeing. In Brazil, I studied with the Japanese textile artist Hisako Kawakami .

Abrindo os rolinha de impressão botânica, técnica do tingimento natural

about me

I am a natural dyer, textile artist, performer and graphic designer from São Paulo, Brazil. My work explores ancient techniques of natural dyeing with plants. My inspiration comes from the Japanese culture, as such my learning background, but Brazilian plants are my main material and passion. I intend to rescue the lost knowledge about our plants, which, besides dyeing, are medicinal too.

I pick flowers and leaves on São Paulo streets and I take barks and seeds to create colours and forms on fabric or paper. This is a slow process that drives me to another time, so much different from the urban time. I realize the generosity of nature, which offers me all the stuff that I need to create, even though living in a megalopolis.

Through my work, I would like to share my respect for nature’s time and its changes. When we stop to observe the little wonderful things that surrounded us on a casual walk throughout our neighbourhood, we can awake something superior inside. Something capable to make visible the power of the Earth, from where everything emerges.

Tronco de árvore e raízes espalhadas pela calçada de uma rua de São Paulo

Eco Creative Cluster

This is a recording of my presentation at Eco Creative Cluster, an event organized by The Rockfield Center, a community center in Oban, Scotland. Led by Oban-based curator Naoko Mabon, the project also aimed to weave a wider network of practitioners working across different localities in the world who have a sustainable and ecological approach. In this conversation, I told a little bit about my way as an artist and the importance of natural dye for my work. April 2021.



The Festival of Quilts, presencial exhibition in the category “Contemporary Quilts”, Birmingham, United Kingdom, 2021

The Festival of Quilts, virtual exhibition in the category “Quilt Creations”, Birmingham, United Kingdom, 2020

12th Great Art Exhibition of Bunkyo, headquarters of the Brazilian Society of Japanese Culture – Bunkyo, São Paulo-SP, 2018. Works: Fall in Japan and Indigo

10th Great Art Exhibition Bunkyo , headquarters of the Brazilian Society of Japanese Culture – Bunkyo, São Paulo-SP, 2016. Works: Each Step and Hagoromo

Corpo de Vento Project, collective installation with artists Toshi Tanaka and Ciça Ohno, Casa do Sertanista Museum, São Paulo-SP, 2016.

Wabi Sabi , participated in the scenic installation in honor of the dancer Dorothy Lenner with the work Mangue, Sesc-Ipiranga, São Paulo-SP, 2016.


Gold Medal Award in the Art Craft category at the 10th Great Bunkyo Art Exhibition with the work Each step , textile with natural dyeing, 150 x 100 cm, 2016.

Finalist among ten best works in the Young Artists MASP-Lufthansa, MASP , São Paulo-SP, 1983.

Main exhibitions as graphic designer

Local Memory Project – Exhibitions, carried out since 2000 in partnership with the Museu da Pessoa , aims to involve public school students in the country in recovering the memory of their communities.

Mazzaroppi Museum , permanent exhibition, Taubaté-SP, 2011

Segall and the Ship , Pedro II shopping center, Campinas-SP, 2010

200 Years of Press in Brazil , exhibition by Cia. Vale do Rio Doce, Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, Pará and Maranhão, 2008

Local Memory at School , exhibition for FLIP, Paraty, 2008

Brazilian Cinematheque: 60 Years in Motion , Sesc Pompéia, São Paulo-SP, 2006

What is your downtown? , Banco do Brasil Cultural Center, São Paulo-SP, 2000


Zen Buddhist practitioner of the Japanese Soto Shu School, received lay ordination from master Dosho Saikawa Roshi in July 2012, at the Busshinji Temple, in São Paulo.

Main performances

Cada Passo – fugaku performance, contemplated by the Fomento à Dança de São Paulo, created by Fernanda Mascarenhas with the collaboration of the Fu Bu Myo In group – Casa do Sertanista Museum, 2016

Iki-Respiration – fugaku performance, contemplated in the Fomento à Dança in São Paulo, conceived and directed by Toshi Tanaka – Olido Gallery, Oswald de Andrade Cultural Workshop, SP School of Theater, Tucarena and Guarani Krukutu Village, 2013. A new version was made at the VIII Dance Promotion Show in 2014

Caminho da Lua – fugaku performance, directed by Toshi Tanaka, awarded by PAC Dança 2006 from the São Paulo State Department of Culture – Cada do Vento, Embu das Artes-SP, 2007

Publications as a graphic designer

Photographic book by Arthur Wolkovier, São Paulo-SP, 2019

Folder resulting from the project Local Memory at School in the city of Senador Canedo – GO, Museu da Pessoa edition, 2021

Book resulting from the Local Memory at School project in the city of Porto Nacional – TO, edition of Museu da Pessoa, 2018

Livro resultado do projeto Memória Local na Escola na cidade de Porto Nacional – TO, edição Museu da Pessoa, 2018

Magazine by Chloé Autran, Gabriela Groener and Laura Comparato, Lycee Pasteur, São Paulo-SP, 2017

magazine resulting from the project Local Memory at School in Piauí, edition of Museu da Pessoa, 2015

Book by Ciça Ohno, Editora Iluminuras, 2013

Two commemorative books of the House of Culture and Citizenship of Eletropaulo, Museu da Pessoa edition, 2012

Magazine that is part of the Local Memory project at Escola da Museu da Pessoa, 2012

Livro que faz parte do projeto Memória Local na Escola do Museu da Pessoa, 2011

Magazine that is part of the Local Memory project at Escola da Museu da Pessoa, 2010​​