I first learned about the natural dye cochinilla when I visited Oaxaca, Mexico, six years ago. Since my mom is a textile artist and lover of all things woven and dyed, of course we visited many places working with natural dyes while traveling together.
Turns out, the beautiful reddish pink color comes from the cochinilla insect (“cochineal” in English). Now, you might think this is a bit gross; I think it is fascinating. These beetles eat the red cactus fruits, and retain the color in their bodies. The insects are harvested, dried, and crushed to create what is called the cochineal extract.
Here’s a short video focusing more on the use of these beetles for food coloring:
As for textiles, cochinilla is one of the strongest dyes found in nature. So it’s only natural that it can be found in many art forms all over the world:
As you can see, the colors are vibrant and long-lasting. That’s why we have chosen cochinilla to be one of the three colors for the Hummingbird Collection. The color is sure to stay beautiful after years of use, and we are happy to be supporting a traditional natural dye.
Check out our Hummingbird Collection!