Before leaving Oaxaca, I cruised over to Teotitlan del Valle, where they make colourful traditional rugs using dyes made from all-natural ingredients. Most of the colours come from various plants, but my favourite colour was red, because I got to meet cochineal bugs for the first time! I feel pretty bad for these bugs, they get a pretty rough deal as far as being a bug is concerned. Watching the dye-making process from start to finish was pretty fascinating though.
here they are growing on a big cactus leaf
and here’s a squished one
for the dye, they dry the bugs out
then grind them up into a fine powder
when you mix the powder with different amounts of water and lime, you can get any shade from orange through to marone.