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E.N.D. of the World - Cochineal Bugs

by Julie Roussy Newton |

E.N.D. of the World, or "Exploring Natural Dyes" of the World, is a series about experimenting with local, natural substances and creating new dye recipes!
Welcome to this E.N.D. episode on the very famous dye stuff called cochineal.
Haven't heard of it? Well that's perfectly okay because I am so excited to share with you a lil bit of information about it!
Cochineal has been an important dyeing ingredient for centuries. I first heard about cochineal when I started to research art history in grade 10. I was so shocked that a bug could create such a vivid colour and had been and still is important for the world's economy. Before doing any dyeing with cochineal, since it's an insect, I really wanted to know as much as I could before using it.
Here are the two different types of cochineal I using. One is the entire bug, and the second is their extract. Essentially you just have to grind the bugs into a powder and then reduce the liquid and you get the same product as the purchased extract. I'm excited to try both products and see which one I like best.
Et voila! A delicious shade of pinks and purpley reds. Depending on what modifier you add to the dye vat you can achieve a variety of different shades. It makes for a really fun experiment.