Making Inks and watercolours

Examples of plant ink colours.

Coreopsis flowers made a strong orange colour with the addition of soda ash and gum arabic to fix the ink to the paper and avoid it becoming powdery, ferrous sulphate darkened the colour.

The flowers were just covered with water and simmered for 40 minutes, then left to stand overningt before straining and testing.

Oak galls or oak apples found in May and June are made by the gall wasp, Biorhiza pallida, a tiny wasp that causes growths, or ‘galls‘, on oak twigs. Inside the gall, the larvae of the wasp feed on the host tissues, but cause little damage.

New Zealand Flax seed pods were covered in rain water, simmered for 40mins and seived to make this purply brown which has stored well with the addition of gum arabic.

It is evident from this example that I need to purchase a glass muller to grind my materials more finely, although I like the grainy effect. I used commercial cochineal from dried cochineal beetles.

Made in the same way as before with the berries of the invasive Himalayan Balsam which are a dark purple colour. Some more experimenting to be done as the berries are a dark purple colour.

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