<b> Annette - World Citizen Natural Dyer </b>

Annette - World Citizen Natural Dyer

Hanging Out With Annette,

World Citizen Natural Dyer.


Born and raised between Costa Rica, Portugal, and New England, Annette grew up surrounded by plants. This lifelong obsession with plants and an unexpected introduction to natural dyeing in Thailand in 2018, led Annette down an Alice in Wonderland-style rabbit hole into the world of natural dyes.  When she moved back to Portugal in 2019 foraging natural dye material connected her to the surroundings. Then in 2020 she founded Tinctorium Studio, through which she offers natural dye services, sells naturally dyed goods, and teaches natural dye workshops. 

Get to know her. 

Can you tell us your story so far?

My story is a bit complicated… But whose story isn’t?

I was born and raised in Costa Rica to an American father and a Portuguese mother. So I ended up living between three worlds that host incredible natural biodiversity. When I started working post-graduation in an office it was obvious that a traditional career wouldn’t work for me - I needed to do something with my hands. 

That’s how I started studying organic agriculture, community herbalism, natural cosmetics and plant biology. Just searching for a practical way to contribute to the world. Then in 2018 while doing my Permaculture Design Certificate in Thailand, I stumbled upon and immediately fell in love with natural dyeing. 

Since that moment I’ve been connecting with my surroundings and my own nature by playing with the living colors hidden in plants. 

Next steps for you?

I’ve moved around a lot and never really felt rooted or grounded anywhere. Usually my instinct is to keep moving. Actually, I was never meant to stay in Portugal for more than a few months. But post-pandemic I’ve found myself working my dream job, dating an amazing man, living near the ocean, making friends, and spending time with family. What more could a girl ask for, right?

So for now my next steps are to continue growing these roots and building a community here.

Best spot in Portugal for you?

In the Lisbon area, my favorite place is Sintra. The areas around Colares and Galamares are incredibly lush and full of dye material. Plus it’s the perfect place to escape the summer heat. 

However, the area around Aljezur will always have a special place in my heart. My grandparents had a bed & breakfast in Monte Clerigo where we would go every summer growing up. When I moved back to Portugal I managed the place for a season. The view of the sunset from halfway up the hill is unparalleled. I’ve seen a lot of breathtaking sunsets but the sun melting into the ocean in Monte Clerigo is the most beautiful

What does style mean to you?

Style for me is a way to express myself. We don’t choose our bodies or our faces, so it’s a non-verbal way to communicate who you are inside. In the end, it’s the aesthetic choices you make that help you feel comfortable wherever you go. 

Kind of like a protective energy field or a conceptual home - our style becomes familiar, allows us to connect with similar people, and can even change depending on our needs. Sometimes we use style to fit in and other times we rely on it to stand out. 

Where do you find inspiration?

Since I primarily work with local material, I am inspired by what I am able to forage or grow. Going hiking, walking to the supermarket, or taking the dog to the park are all moments when I come across plants that inspire me. 

In the world of natural dyeing, you never stop learning. When you consider that every type of plant has its own pigments and each individual plant will be different from the next . The only way to know is to try! So in a way I am inspired by every new plant I come across.

What motivated you to get started with Tinctorium Studio?

I have been experimenting with natural dyes for a few years, but it was during the first pandemic that I started selling my naturally dyed goods. I needed to make money, I was being rejected from office jobs I didn’t want, and was feeling like people really needed to connect with plants after being stuck inside for three months.

But let me be super clear, I had no idea what the hell I was doing or where I wanted to go with the project when I started. Basically I just wanted to make a living by doing something aligned with my ecological and social values.

What's the Band / Music Style / Music Artist that inspires you?

Ahh, this is such a hard question! There is so much incredible music - new and old - that is special to me. My most played songs tend to come from artists like Anderson Paak, Frank Ocean, and Childish Gambino. But like everything I do, the music I listen to varies a lot on my mood.

I like to make playlists based on a certain vibe or feeling. Songs to Replicate the Sun, for example, is filled with happy old-school jams like Sugar Magnolia from the Grateful Dead and Mr. Blue Sky from Electric Light Orchestra. Whereas Groovy Chill holds electronic beats from Basstracks, Gramatik, Kaytranada, Goldlink and Griz. 

Any guilty pleasure worth mentioning?

Frozen peanut M&M’s are definitely my guilty pleasure. I know, I know, Nestle is a horrible company and their chocolate products are the worst. But I’ve never found an ethical alternative that hits the spot. I’ve tried to swear off them several times, even successfully for a year, but they always find their way back to me.

If anyone knows of an ethical alternative to peanut M&M’s, please let me know! 

Photography by João Hasselberg.


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Annette Brinckerhoff