Notions-Drye Goods Studio Diary

Thanks for checking in. I am a fiber artist. My current emphasis is on eco printing and other wildcraft with a touch of up-cycling thrown in. You can also catch up with me on Facebook at Drye Goods Studio.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Messing Around with Berry Inks

I am going to do this again when I get fresh berries, but I thought this was interesting. A year ago I made some ink out of Oregon Grape-which is not actually a grape for those that don't live in this part of the world. It looks kind of like holly but with dusty blue berries.

This a picture of the ink experiments from last year. Very pink!
Here they are a year later. They were hiding in a desk drawer, so no UV, but quite a bit of change. You can't see it that well in the image, but the quality of paper may have had something to do with it as well. The higher quality papers changed less.
This year I decided to work with 3 different berries. Elderberry at the top, Oregon Grape on the right, and huckleberries on bottom. 
The frozen berries were crushed in a bowl and strained to release the juice and get rid of all the little bits.
I have some really big stamp pads so I loaded the ink into those. My drawing skills leave a lot to be desired.
Oregon Grape, elderberry, and huckleberry. 
I mixed up the ink using a teaspoon of vinegar and a dash of salt as a preservative (last year I used alcohol) and I have to say it was good thing I decided to work on this when I did. The elderberry was busy turning into elderberry champagne. Fizzy and everything. It made the studio smell delicious, but another day and it might have exploded! There was also a touch of mold on the Huckleberry. This was after only a few days. Last year's batch with the alcohol lasted for months. I also wonder if the salt and vinegar are why the first two turned so brown, or if it was just because the berries were old. The huckleberries had been prepped as you would for food; no sugar, but they were well washed and had a lot of extra water. The other two I threw in the freezer last fall "as is" when I ran out of time to do anything with them. Freezing does help destroy the cellar walls and thus you get more juice, but I think overnight or just a couple of days would be better. While huckleberries are known to make a permanent fabric dye (also permanent on your pants, shirt and fingernails while you are picking them) they are not a cultivated berry, sometimes fighting bears is involved in collecting the fruit. I would just rather make pancakes with them instead!

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