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making ink

September 28, 2018

trying something new

I’m blaming it on Velma

a new book “Make Ink” by Jason Logan

he gathers his materials from the urban landscape in Toronto

  recently released, Velma reviewed it and my favorite bookstore had it in stock

 of course I couldn’t resist

it is a cross between a “how to” and an art book

with some interesting history and a conversation with Michael Ondaatje

 it has good information on how to get started

but some knowledge of natural dyeing is helpful

I’ve spent several days making 3 small bottles of liquid – is it ink or paint?

the author does write that an essential ingredient is patience

 straining through coffee filters has taken days, not hours

not my strong point!

the first samples – not much for 2 days work

as the weather is changing I needed to get started

first I tried to dig some madder root

but the ground is still rock hard

top left in the samples is walnut tree bark – the tree has never actually produced nuts

it looked a bit wishy/washy so I added 1/4 tsp. iron

then I picked the last of my grapes – I’d left them for the birds and raccoons

sorry guys!

it has a problem, after straining and then straining again through a coffee filter

actually 6 filters so far, it is a little like runny jam and hasn’t really dried yet

it did make the kitchen smell nice!

the brown one is a total fluke and never to be repeated

it is rhubarb root, when the root dries it becomes like granite

it was lost at the back of the dye cupboard, dried out completely

I pounded it with a hammer, then almost threw it out but it is the best one

 needing something to spin I bought more Como – unwashed

it is finer than Merino – look at the beautiful, fine crimp

washed, carded and spinning

signs of the seasonthe autumn crocus are blooming

the white ones are small and dainty

all parts of the plant are highly poisonous – with symptoms like arsenic poisoning

don’t plan to try making ink with them

I’m off to gather acorns from local oak trees

13 Comments leave one →
  1. vdbolyard permalink
    October 1, 2018 2:35 pm

    I do feel a wee bit responsible, Jean (he he he), but then again you HAVE had some fun and grand results.


    • October 1, 2018 3:25 pm

      Velma – it’s all your fault! but what really sealed the deal was when I went to the book store, not even looking for it and there it was on the promotion table up front – maybe because it is a Canadian author. I didn’t take a picture of the mess happening in the kitchen for several days.


      • vdbolyard permalink
        October 4, 2018 9:56 am

        C’mon Jean, I take pictures of my alchemical kitchen of desire and sometimes food all the time. It’s pretty dreadful most of the time.


      • October 4, 2018 10:18 am

        Velma – it would have needed a time lapse series as the process extended over several days and I had to clean up in between in order to eat. No one shot would have been impressive – that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it!


  2. September 29, 2018 2:22 am

    or saffron then!!!


    • September 29, 2018 8:46 am

      Dawn – this is colchicum autumnale and saffron is crocus sativa, too much time and work to use the wrong plant. The book is all about using local plants but eventually I’ll try cochineal and lac – they are in the dye cupboard.

      Liked by 1 person

      • October 3, 2018 1:27 am

        I hadn’t realised some crocus were toxic – I’m one of those eejits who might have just picked out stamens from ones in the garden if I didn’t have any in my pantry! (no chance now though – thanks!)


      • October 3, 2018 8:07 am

        Dawn – the first step is to be able to positively identify any plant you might consume.


      • October 3, 2018 9:57 am

        oh, I know!!


  3. Blandina permalink
    September 28, 2018 10:13 pm

    This is what I like about you: always curious and trying something new!


    • September 28, 2018 10:55 pm

      Hi Blandina – lovely to hear from you, hope all is well. The ink making is just an extension of the natural dyeing on fibres – except I just end up with 2 ounce bottles of colour rather than cupboards full of yarn.


  4. September 28, 2018 12:07 pm

    There are boat load of oak galls near where I live, but I already have an out of control stash of onion and avocado skins for dyeing so I left them alone. Good tip on the crocus. I have a few dyeing books that list plants to stee clear of.


    • September 28, 2018 12:54 pm

      Nia – I live in the municipality of Oak Bay – so there is no shortage of oak trees. I too have a stash of dye stuffs, pomegranate skins are cooking now. It is amazing the number of plants that can be dangerous – rhubarb, one of my favorites, is one of them.


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