Have you heard of cochineal? Since ancient times, pre-Inca civilizations (Peru) have traditionally used a series of natural dyes as a color palette for making their garments such as blankets, chullos, ponchos, among others. Dyeing is achieved with the help of a small parasitic insect that lives on the leaves of the prickly pear cacti. It has the form of a reddish-black grain covered by a white fluff-like powder. When it reaches about 8 millimeters, it is collected with a brush and washed with boiling water. Finally, it is left to dry at a high temperature.
This small insect is known as the cochineal and is the natural source of carmine, an intense reddish color. It is used as a food, textile, and cosmetic coloring. The colors that this wonderful insect can offer, range from orange, pink, purple, lilac, crimson red, and even leaden tones. But these colors will be possible thanks to the fixation with some elements such as lemon juice, alum, copper sulfate, maras salt, and iron sulfate.
This color palette is one of my favorites because it is similar to the hues of sunset, to the flowers in the spring season, to the strawberry smoothie I made for my Sunday breakfast.