First Friday: Your Dye Is Bugged—The Process and Ingredients of Dye

Today CHF’s First Friday event will focus on dyes from bugs.

Karen Karuza of the Philadelphia Art Institute’s Fashion Design Department will discuss her work with a Mexican red dye made from cochinilla, a bug that lives on the nopal cactus. Karuza will demonstrate the process used to make this natural dye and show how various additives affect dye colors.

Karen will speak at 5:00, 6:00, and 7:00 p.m.  

Dyes and the making of dyes led to many great innovations in the history of chemistry. When bugs were the only source of dyes, most people were clothed in drab colors. Synthetic dyes made color both available and affordable. The first great dye discovery was made by 19-year-old William Henry Perkin in 1856. Trying to make quinine, he made mauve dye—and a fortune. One of the highest awards in chemistry, the SCI Perkin Medal, honors the young experimenter who created a global industry.

CHF’s newest exhibit, Marvels and Ciphers: A Look Inside the Flask,and permanent exhibit, Making Modernity, will both be open tonight.

CHF joins over 40 Old City museums, galleries, and shops in opening its doors from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. each month for First Friday.

This project has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Heritage Philadelphia Program.

Posted In: Education

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