Carmine, cochineal, cochinilla...grana!
The female Dactylopius coccus!
Our little ladies are harvested from prickly pear cacti in Oaxaca Mexico. I was actually paid with them for teaching at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca! This batch, if used unground, should be rinsed in alcohol first.
Used as pigment and dye for thousands of years, the parasite 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, but is also very sensitive to pH changes.
Use cream of tartar for rich deep reds on protein fibers and magenta of cellulose fibers.
Add iron for purples. Alkaline turns towards magenta/red. Acid turns towards orange.
*Grind to use as dye powder
or rinse first with alcohol when used whole.
*Grind very fine to use as pigment
and blend with a binder.
Can be used as paint and in waxes or soap.
*Not food grade so should not be used as food coloring.
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