Carmine, cochineal, cochinilla...
The female Dactylopius coccus!
Our little ladies are harvested from prickly pear cacti in Oaxaca Mexico via our studio resident Laura Barbata.
Used as pigment and dye for thousands of years, the beetle is still used in the food industry as food coloring.
It is a very concentrated dye stuff, so you only need 3-8% WOF for a medium depth of shade.
On it's own you can get shades ranging from orangey pinks, magentas, and deep pinks.
Use cream of tartar for rich deep reds on protein fibers and magenta of cellulose fibers.
Add iron for purples!