In Oaxaca we saw many beautiful wool rugs for sale. I bought two. We decided to take the bus out to the village of Teotitlan where the weavers of these rugs live. As we were discussing where to get off the bus, a nice gentleman sitting across the aisle of the bus, said, in perfect English "That is where I live. I will show you where to get off." When we followed him off the bus in the center of a sleepy little village he gave us directions to the market and church, then invited us to visit his weaving studio just across the street. Beautiful rugs covered the walls and were stacked on the floors. He took us to the back room where he prepared dyes from cochineal and a variety of plants, which hung from the rafters.
Cochineal is a tiny insect that lives on a particular kind of cactus (the white areas on the cactus pads below are where the cochineal are found) and yields a maroon-y red dye when crushed. When acid, such as lemon juice is added the red becomes a rich, orange-y red. The yarns for the rug behind the loom in the first picture were dyed, primarily with cochineal.
My friend, Muriel, purchased this beautiful rug, right off the wall of his studio.
In Oaxaca, I got this rug for my bathroom. The beautiful variety of natural green dyes were mostly from mosses.