Ink made from insects
by Evelien Crooy

| 22 comments
 

Dutch Design Week 2013: graphic design graduate Evelien Crooy has made her own ink from insects and used it to screen-print the cover of a book about the creatures.

Insect ink by Evelien Crooy

Evelien Crooy produced the ink from cochineals - small insects native to tropical and sub-tropical regions including parts of South America, where they live on cacti.

Insect ink by Evelien Crooy

The bodies of female cochineal have been used for centuries to produce a crimson dye called carmine, which is commonly found in food and cosmetics as a colouring agent.

Insect ink by Evelien Crooy

Having discovered that the colour was also used by Rembrandt in his painting, The Jewish Bride, Crooy set about researching other products containing cochineal and compiled them in a pocket-sized book.

Insect ink by Evelien Crooy

"Because I'm not a painter but a graphic designer I wanted to use the colour to silkscreen and develop an ink," Crooy told Dezeen. "I also think there is a dark side to the whole idea of using an insect but I wanted to show her beauty and all the colours she can produce."

Insect ink by Evelien Crooy

By mixing the colour with salt and natural acids such as lime, Crooy was able to produce different shades and a consistency that is suitable for silkscreen printing.

Insect ink by Evelien Crooy

She used the ink to print a cover for her book and plans to produce further experiments including silkscreened posters.

Insect ink by Evelien Crooy

"Right now it's an expensive material but who knows, maybe it can be used for industry in the future," said Crooy, who recently graduated from Utrecht School of Arts in the Netherlands.

Insect ink by Evelien Crooy

The project was presented alongside a plastic made from pressed insect shells at the Klokgebouw building in Eindhoven during Dutch Design Week earlier this month.

Insect ink by Evelien Crooy

Yesterday we published a story about a book that's printed in squid ink, while other projects using animal parts in new ways include electronic products made of crab shells and goggles made from fish scales.

Insect ink by Evelien Crooy

  • sowhat

    So if I am baking bread from flour will I be on Dezeen too?

    • Aaron

      You could give it a shot, but then you’d risk having every whiny, failed designer bitching about your work.

      • sowhat

        Thanks, you proved my point.

        • generalpopulation

          I don’t think you have a point.

    • Aaron

      You could give it a shot, but then you’d risk having every whiny, failed designer bitching about your work.

  • Lalmassi

    To whoever wants to read a story about cochineal and the colour red throughout history, read “A perfect red. Empire, espionage and the quest for the colour of desire”. The author is Amy Butler Greenfield. Seriously read it. You will never see the colour red the same. You would realise how a single colour changed the world.

    • http://jordanjlloyd.me Jordan J. Lloyd

      That’s going on my ‘to read’ list.

    • Jeremy Hernalesteen

      Added to my wishlist :)

  • Lalmassi

    To whoever wants to read a story about cochineal and the colour red throughout history, read “A perfect red. Empire, espionage and the quest for the colour of desire”. The author is Amy Butler Greenfield. Seriously read it. You will never see the colour red the same. You would realise how a single colour changed the world.

  • vini

    How far we were willing to go to dignify this bloodshed? Please, this is a disgusting idea that glorifies the use of other creatures blood in the pursuit of beauty. Maybe this made sense during the Medieval Age, but today it is lacks ethics. I hope I am not alone with this idea.

    • Gavin

      Agreed. I thought cochineal had gone out of fashion for this reason. I think this is a weak concept anyway.

      • beatrice

        Sorry – what’s the concept?

        Wasn’t this done hundreds of years ago?

    • generalpopulation

      They’re insects… They don’t feel pain; frankly I don’t see the objection.

      • generalpopulation

        @d4e5263e1326c5cd113ec8526b434df0:disqus We all kill insects all the time, purely because they’re something of an inconvenience. Also, ”So you think it’s okay to kill things that don’t feel pain?” – Does this mean you’ve never used a piece of paper before? nor used a piece of wooden furniture

        Honestly, you all appear to have ”thought about this” far too much; so much so that your argument is just convoluted.

        • beatrice

          Alas you have failed again. {sigh}.

          We might kill an insect if it is bothering us. I’m fine with that. Killing an insect for a luxurious or pleasurable purpose is wrong. Your statement “Does this mean you’ve never used a piece of paper before? nor used a piece of wooden furniture” is wildly general and sounds like you might have heard it in the playground.

          You are equating killing trees with killing insects. You willingly fail to see a difference between the two. The future does not involve the exploitation of animals. I’m sorry that you don’t feel the same way, but this is why we have progress.

    • generalpopulation

      They’re insects… They don’t feel pain; frankly I don’t see the objection.

  • Beatrice

    I fail to see how this is in any way original.

    It’s also cruel.

  • bearice

    ‘It may well be’ – these are weasel words. And this is post rationalisation of a cruel experiment.

    There’s no need to carry this out by killing insects. If there was real care for the planet (as you propose) a paper with numbers on would have been more appropriate. It’s obvious it would work, because it’s been done for so long already.

    I wonder how she felt while she crushed them. Did she boil them to death first or did she just go for the eyes-shut-smash the whole lot to death against each other first?

    Psychopaths do this to animals. I expect more from students and much much more control from the college.

    And frankly Dezeen, I’m a bit surprised you’d put this online. A comment from PETA wouldn’t go amiss.

    • generalpopulation

      Instead you’d rather use printing chemicals that are toxic to animals? So in the hierarchy of living things; you prioritise insects over animals and trees (no problem killing trees to utilise their paper-making pulp?).

      • beatrice

        Which printing chemicals are you referring to? And which trees are you referring to?

        I have no problem killing trees that have been grown specifically for harvesting. I.e. a managed forest.
        Trees do not have nervous systems. Insects do. That’s quite simple. What is your hierarchy?

  • beatrice

    “I wanted to show her beauty and all the colours she can produce.”

    How sweet. Smash smash smash crush your head crush your body crush you to death little beautiful thing.

  • nc

    I’m just wondering… is she using dead bees or she killed them for their colors?