Two centuries ago no one could have imagined that something as valuable as cochineal, ranked alongside gold and silver as one of the great treasures of the Spanish empire, would eventually be forgotten,” explains historian Amy Butler Greenfield, author of A Perfect Red. (source)
When people think about natural dyes, they imagine dull sad brown colours that fade in the sun. Historically dyers were highly skilled and respected craftsman who produced a wide range of bright and fast colours- dyes that withstand fading better than many of the cheap synthetic dyes we purchase on the discount rack today.
Cochineal can be used to create a traditional pure red by highly skilled dyers. I typically achieve a striking fuchsia shade. This wooly wall hanging was created for Lizane Tan who created a gorgeous wordmark for me. I was over-dyeing yarn that was previously mordanted with alum and dyed golden with marigolds (her favourite flower).