Well, this.... but it's only the female that is of use to the natural dyers of the world (although, I guess, the male plays a part in the procreation of the species to create the dye!)
Cochineal is a natural dye from South and Central America. It is procured by squeezing the bodies of the female beetle to release the carminic acid which occurs naturally in their bodies as a deterrent for prey. For mass harvesting, the beetles are dried and then pounded to produce the dyestuff. Cochineal was introduced to Europe on the late 1500s by the Spanish explorers. Its source was a highly guarded secret and it fetched a handsome sum.
Back in February, this was another dye that Aboubakar made use of, as part of his three day master class. Now, I have to admit that I'm not much of a 'pink chick' and my preconceived idea of cochineal being in that category, meant that I wasn't brimming with excitement.
However.....in keeping with my post on weld, the only thing I like better than cochineal, is cochineal and tartaric acid!
Stirring for an hour...constantly for even colour
Untangling and decanting
Okay! I admit it, LOVING this pink!
(my gratitude to Jen Angel for the capturing the moments, as only she can)
Aboubakar will be returning to Melbourne and Sydney mid May 2015 to run more workshops.
If these photos have piqued your interest, you can contact his agent Johanna MacNaughtan for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org