THE RED MOTHERS RETURN

DAY 24 Monday 24 September

 ‘Madres Carmesí’. Mono prints on paper

‘Madres Carmesí’. Mono prints on paper

I’m never sure when a series is finished, but there is space for three more ‘Mothers’ on the studio wall. There’s something interesting about 100,000 squashed pregnant mothers making 1 kilo of one of the most valuable commodities of the ancient and medieval world; the red dye Kermes from which we derive the words Crimson and Carmine. It was used by the Roman as tribute and accepted as rent.

 This photo shows a mature female Kermes scale insect. The dye was called ‘ grain ’ because it was thought to be of vegetable origin.

This photo shows a mature female Kermes scale insect. The dye was called ‘grain’ because it was thought to be of vegetable origin.

I learnt today that mature female scale insects are limbless and immobile, feeding on the sap of their host species, the Kermes Oak, which I spotted on one of my walks. In May/June they are gall-like, 7mm diameter, almost spherical. Thousands of tiny red ‘crawlers’ swarm out through a small orifice near the point of attachment of the Mother. Some species of scale insect display parthenogenesis ie. virgin birth. Excellent.

http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/12528046

 Three Naiads

Three Naiads

I practiced yoga for an hour and made three more Naiads- they are becoming weirder- good!