Red clays, mineral pigments

“La cala”, Mojácar - ES

In my family - like in many others Spanish families - women dig the earth, recover their faces with clay masks and then immerse themselves in the sea. This clay is present across mediterranean countries soils. It partly comes from the African regions in Sahara and Sahel. A few minutes away from the village Mojácar, in Andalucia, the rock of a creek called "La Cala" contains a lot of red clay which is very rich in iron oxide, trace elements and minerals. 
Once crushed and mixed with seawater, it becomes malleable enough to create precious shades of reds. We use it as a paint pigment and also as a poultice on the body and the face. As this claydries up, it heals the skin, improves blood circulation and can be a remedy against menstrual pain.