WetCanvas
Home Member Services Content Areas Tools Info Center WC Partners Shop Help
Channels:
Search for:
in:

Welcome to the WetCanvas forums. You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions, articles and access our other FREE features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload your own photos and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please visit our help center.

Go Back   WetCanvas > Explore Media > Pen and Ink
User Name
Password
Register Mark Forums Read

Salute to our Partners
WC! Sponsors

Our Sponsors
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1   Report Bad Post  
Old 09-27-2010, 09:46 AM
Bluegill's Avatar
Bluegill Bluegill is offline
Enthusiast
Louisville, Kentucky
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,117
 
Homemade pokeweed berry ink

This past weekend I tried my hand at making pokeberry ink. This is made from the ripe berries of the pokeweed plant.

I first heard of pokeweed ink when I was researching walnut ink, which Iíve also made. I didnít know what pokeweed was, however. After a little more research, I realized that pokeweed was something Iíd been seeing all my life in every patch of weeds Iíve ever looked at, but I just didnít know what it was called. Itís very common, at least around here, and very easy to spot; it can be quite tall, with large leaves, distinctive magenta stems, and lots and lots of berries.

Anyway, I had one growing in my backyard, so I let it mature, and on Saturday I made some ink. My daughters were enthusiastic helpers.

After making sure they understood that the berries were toxic and would make them very, very sick if they at them, and after making sure they had on play clothes (my wife later garbed them in trash bags with holes for the arms and head cut out), we got to work.

First, we put all the berries in a large bowl.




Hands were stained by the berries, and berries that fell into the grass stained our feet.


Then we squished and strained them through a wide-hole colander. The color on my hands, in the full sunlight, was dazzling. After that, I poured it through a sieve into jars.
[IMG]http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Sep-2010/38606-

Pokeweed_4_WC.JPG[/IMG]



After that, I used a dip-pen and a brush to do some messing around.


On the plus side, this ink is really, really easy to make. One large plant gave me two jelly jars full of ink; the color is a vivid magenta; and it flows off the pen wonderfully!

One the minus side, the color is said to turn to brownóI donít know how long it will take, but probably not too long. Even worse, itís not lightfast; even the brown will fade, I think, so youíd need to keep it under UV glass or out of the light.

According to legend, the Declaration of Independence was signed with this ink (which I suppose could be a reason why itís faded to illegibility and kept in a dark room under thick glass). It was also commonly used by soldiers during the American Civil War to write letters home, and American Indians painted their horses with the dye.
Reply With Quote
  #2   Report Bad Post  
Old 09-27-2010, 09:47 AM
Bluegill's Avatar
Bluegill Bluegill is offline
Enthusiast
Louisville, Kentucky
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,117
 
Re: Homemade pokeweed berry ink

Reply With Quote
  #3   Report Bad Post  
Old 09-27-2010, 11:23 AM
CerraAngel CerraAngel is offline
Enthusiast
St Louis MO.
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 1,594
 
Hails from United States
Re: Homemade pokeweed berry ink

It looks like all of you had a lot of fun.
Reply With Quote
  #4   Report Bad Post  
Old 09-27-2010, 11:30 AM
Ranger Dan's Avatar
Ranger Dan Ranger Dan is offline
A WetCanvas! Patron Saint
Mesa, AZ
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3,641
 
Hails from United States
Re: Homemade pokeweed berry ink

fun! so how was clean up? are your hands and feet still magenta? I wonder if there is an agent you could add to help prevent fading...
__________________
Ranger Dan Gronseth
Reply With Quote
  #5   Report Bad Post  
Old 09-27-2010, 12:14 PM
Bluegill's Avatar
Bluegill Bluegill is offline
Enthusiast
Louisville, Kentucky
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,117
 
Re: Homemade pokeweed berry ink

It actually cleaned up very easily, unlike walnut ink.

I think the only way to keep it from fading is to keep it away from UV radiation.
Reply With Quote
  #6   Report Bad Post  
Old 09-27-2010, 02:44 PM
objectivistartist's Avatar
objectivistartist objectivistartist is offline
A WC! Legend
Tampa, Florida
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 15,234
 
Hails from United States
Re: Homemade pokeweed berry ink

ah - the Declaration was sign in iron gall ink...
Reply With Quote
  #7   Report Bad Post  
Old 09-27-2010, 03:59 PM
Bluegill's Avatar
Bluegill Bluegill is offline
Enthusiast
Louisville, Kentucky
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,117
 
Re: Homemade pokeweed berry ink

Quote:
Originally Posted by objectivistartist
ah - the Declaration was sign in iron gall ink...
Hm, just goes to show that you shouldn't believe everything you read on the Internet! Wait, you're on the Internet...
Reply With Quote
  #8   Report Bad Post  
Old 09-27-2010, 05:20 PM
RiJoRi's Avatar
RiJoRi RiJoRi is offline
Veteran Member
LAWSONVILLE, NC
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 518
 
Hails from United States
Re: Homemade pokeweed berry ink

"According to legend, American Indians painted their horses with the dye."

I've never seen a purple horse
I hope I'll never see one.
But I will tell you now, of course
I'd rather see than be one.

With apologies to Whats'IsName

--Rich
__________________
So many colors, so little time...
Reply With Quote
  #9   Report Bad Post  
Old 09-27-2010, 08:24 PM
virgo68's Avatar
virgo68 virgo68 is offline
Lord of the Arts
South Australia
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,373
 
Hails from Australia
Re: Homemade pokeweed berry ink

Fascinating! What a beautiful colour - it is really a shame it turns brown. Maybe you could do a series of experiments and see how long it takes to turn brown, leave something out in the light and see how long till it fades etc. Wonderif you spray with some sort of uv matte fixative if that would save it? I did that once with a laser copy I made and left it in the window for 12 months and it faded only a tiny bit from the original I left in a folder in the cupboard. Just an idea if you do hit on a drawing you would like to keep.

How long did it take for your hands and feet to go back to "normal"?!
__________________
Jackie
Reply With Quote
  #10   Report Bad Post  
Old 09-28-2010, 07:29 AM
Bluegill's Avatar
Bluegill Bluegill is offline
Enthusiast
Louisville, Kentucky
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,117
 
Re: Homemade pokeweed berry ink

It only took a few minutes to wash it all off, fortunatey (a month ago, I sliced open a raw walnut, and the juice stained my hand a beautiful brown for two weeks.)

Regarding the Declaration of Independence, I've seen that information all over the Web, but the National Archives conservators make reference to it being iron gall ink, making this (to me) perfect example of lots of wrong info being repeated on the Internet. Of course I'd trust the National Archives experts over ten thousand other sources. So thanks, Robert!
Reply With Quote
  #11   Report Bad Post  
Old 09-28-2010, 08:50 AM
Studio-1-F's Avatar
Studio-1-F Studio-1-F is offline
A WetCanvas! Patron Saint
Maryland
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 3,616
 
Hails from United States
Re: Homemade pokeweed berry ink

Mark, excellent pictures! Thanks for posting them. (Your girls are adorable!)

Other than walnut and pokewood, have you tried making ink from any other substances? Making ink is pretty interesting.

What's an "iron gall"? Is it a tree growth?

Jan
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #13   Report Bad Post  
Old 09-28-2010, 07:14 PM
llawrence's Avatar
llawrence llawrence is offline
A WetCanvas! Patron Saint
East of Eden
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 3,376
 
Re: Homemade pokeweed berry ink

Sweet! I've made walnut ink too, but not pokeweed. I wish we had pokeweed in our area, but that will never be. Looks like it came out great.

I seem to recall reading one source that said fermenting the pokeweed juice will make for a more permanent ink, though not as bright a color. I can't remember if that was about lightfastness or indelibility - probably the latter.

Non-lightfast inks are appropriate for book arts in my opinion. Thanks for posting, cool stuff...
__________________
My website: http://www.rusticportraits.com
My artwork blog: http://llawrencebispo.wordpress.com
My art materials blog: http://sunsikell.wordpress.com
Reply With Quote
  #14   Report Bad Post  
Old 01-02-2012, 09:33 PM
Bluegill's Avatar
Bluegill Bluegill is offline
Enthusiast
Louisville, Kentucky
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,117
 
Re: Homemade pokeweed berry ink

I just thought I should post this update, for anyone interested:

The doodles I did in my sketchbook when I first made the ink, which you can see in the first post, show noticeable browning and fading. This despite being enclosed in a sketchbook and rarely looked at. So, it will fade even with minimal light exposure! Probably not a good idea to use them even in a sketchbook, except for experiments. Unless you're into art that expresses the ephemerality of our existence...
Reply With Quote
  #15   Report Bad Post  
Old 01-03-2012, 05:06 AM
MNClem's Avatar
MNClem MNClem is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 104
 
Hails from Italy
Re: Homemade pokeweed berry ink

A technical failure, but an human success! The fun you had with your family is priceless!
I thnik that something like this should be done in the schools to let the children understand how primitives became painters and the art began his history
__________________
Really a beginner...
Reply With Quote

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:50 AM.


© 2014 F+W All rights reserved.