- Nature Prompts + Sidekick
- Nature Inspir-action
- Creating a journal of the tides of your year
- Block printing nature motifs
- Translating Music to Paper
- How to journal with leaves
- Doodling for beginners
- Three watercolour background techniques
- Learning artistic techniques from cave painting
- How to use the language of flowers in your art
- Create a DIY portable flower press
- How to make plant-based inks
How to make plant-based inks
Hello Messians, it’s your favorite witch Vanessa here. This is a bittersweet post for me as it is my last one as a Get Messy Creative Team member. I have been involved in the CT for the last two years and it is a huge part of my life. It is time for me to make space for new creatives to inspire you and I am sure next year’s CT will do just that. I will still be around, teaching Rituals but also being involved in the Get Messy community because I love it so much. Without further ado, let’s delve into my last post for this final Season of 2017: The Season of Nature. Maybe because as I am writing this, it is Fall and we are immersed in the Halloween spirit, but the idea of the Season of Nature immediately conjured up the idea of the Witch at her cauldron for me. What is she concocting? Why her very own inks! Want to try? Ok, let’s do this. The first step is gathering your material. You will need various bottles or containers for your inks. They can be as fancy or as plain as you like.
We will be making three kinds of ink using organic material. For each of these three inks, you will need one cup’s (250 ml) worth of organic matter. The first ink uses yellow onion skin; you will need the skin of 3-4 onions depending ontheir size. I would suggest making onion soup with the onions themselves! The second ink we will make uses avocado pits. You will need about 10-14 pits, again depending on their size. Maybe some guacamole is in order? And finally, you will need some red cabbage. We’ll be using most of this, but you can use the leftovers for a nice coleslaw to go with the guacamole!
The Witch’s Brew Basic recipe:
For each of these inks, the method is the same. -1 cup of organic material -6 cups of water -bring to a boil -simmer uncovered until there is 1 to 1/2 cups of liquid left (this depends on how concentrated you want the color to be) Once the liquid has cooled, add 1/4 cup of vodka to make sure the ink doesn’t mold. Put your lovely new inks in their fancy bottles and your brew is done! Here is a look at the different ues the inks have given us. My favorite is the onion husks, a gorgeous golden red yellow color. I imagine lion fur at sunset! The avocado pits give a pink brown color and the red cabbage a lovely blue shade. You can use your inks in any way you would use commercial ink: for brush scripting as I did above, with a calligraphy nib (if it is concentrated enough) or as a watercolor wash. But because of the idea of the Witch’s brew, I decided to dip different types of paper in the inks to see how they would react. The paper above is a thin Japanese mulberry paper. The papers below are leftover watercolor strips of paper from my bookbinding. The best part about using these inks is that varying the paper and/or the dipping time gives totally different results. These are also handmade papers; I dipped one edge of the papers and then left them in the inks overnight. I absolutely love the soft gradient on the top part of the middle paper. In some places, I let the ink run and then pool so that when it dried it would be very concentrated. The various dipping times allowed for some spontaneity. I love how this paper looks like mountain ranges. I didn’t think I’d want all the colour on the same papers, but I ended up really loving the way the hues played off each other. Experiement with your inks, dip in them, splash them on, run them down the pages, spray them. This is half the fun! Once all these pages were dry, I cut them down to size and made a journal out of them. I will use this as a Natural Herb Journal, a place to sketch out different types of herbs and their medicinal uses. A natural journal for Nature’s remedies. I hope this inspires you to bring out your cauldrons and experiment! The recipes I used were taught to me by Misty Mawn, but you can experiment with other natural dyes like turmeric, coffee, tea and tree leaves as well.
- Gather your material and make your own inks following the Witch’s Brew recipe
- Put your inks in fancy bottles or in larger bowls depending on how you want to use them
- Use your inks for brush scripting, as a spray or as a wash
- Experiment by dipping various papers in your inks and seeing how they react to the paper
- Use different dipping times and techniques
- Cut down your papers once dry and bind them into a journal
It has been an absolute honor to be a part of Get Messy’s Creative Team and I do hope that you have enjoyed my posts.
Vanessa is an archaeologist and an artist. She oscillates between these two poles of her personality and explores the many iterations of her reality in her art journal. She loves to share her art and process with others.