On Workshops

Do I have to do the Basic workshop before any of your other workshops?

If you have been tinkering away yourself with the botanical ink and paint making, you should be fine. In my Basics workshop, we make ink during the workshop by extraction and reduction through a heat source. The following workshops are designed as follow on blocks from here, with the Charcoal and Black Inks being of specific interest to calligraphers.

Do I leave the whole clove in my bottle of ink?

Yes, you do. Is the long and the short of it! I always recommend using whole clove to fight off the inevitable and harmless mould growth that will occur in a thin skin on top of the inks. As we are working with organic matter, this is just a harmless side effect. Cleanliness of storage jars, and precise filtering will also help. But, a whole clove remains in there. Clove bud essential oil can also be used, but it is strong stuff, especially if you have a studio dog or cat.

Is it essential to use an ‘ink only’ saucepan for the workshop?

Yes, it is good practice. It allows us to be safe with cross contamination (very small risk of this, but better to be safe than sorry). It also means that food substances are not going to make their way into your ink. I have a strict rule in my studio of keeping all utensils used for making just for making, and I do urge you do the same.

What can I or can’t I harvest?

Please, please only harvest and use plants which you know, and are 100% sure of the toxicity of. If you are unsure, take a picture, and check the plants identity in an ID book (I have been using Francis Roses’ The Wild Flower Key for years and recommend it) or check out some plant ID apps for your phone. I trained and have worked in the field of medicinal herbal plants, and have a good base in Irish wild flower identification. There are some which will make ill and others will cause burns and irritations among other unsavoury effects. So please be aware of what you are harvesting and using. If you don’t know what it is, then have it reliable IDed before harvesting and using it.

Will we be looking at colour sources from the animal kingdom also?

No, we will not. My practice is very much rooted in the non animal, cruelty free camp. There are both colours and binders which come from non botanical sources, which I give mention to so that if you wish to explore, you have a notion of their existence and use. For myself, however, I have not even experimented nor will I! All the information which I give on my workshops is from my own experience of making and using the inks and pigments which I make myself. On that, I do use animal bone in some cases, all sourced from found wild bones, and road kill, which I am okay with!

I can only make the last hour! Will I miss much?

All our live workshops are recorded. I then send out all participants two downloadable videos. One of the workshop and a short follow up video to re-cap and some extra information and recipes.

On Inks

Are the inks suitable for children?

Yes they are. But I would always suggest that Madonna and Faust be used under supervision, and all hands washed after use to avoid accidental ingestion.

Why can’t you post bottles over seas?

Sadly, due to postage regulations, we are unable to post liquids off the island! I know…I suspect it may have something to do wit the illicit poitín trade!! I have a way around this, however. All charcoal based inks are available as pigment. I send them out with my UV protective indigo blue glass bottle, gum Arabic, clove buds and instructions to turn over into a liquid when it lands. I also offer small batch pigments, contact me directly for further information.

Are they colourfast?

I always err on the side of caution that as they are botanically based colourfastness will be an issue. The black charcoals do not fall into this bracket, however, they stay nice and black. The bottles that I package my inks in are made with an indigo blue glass. This is believed to aid the preservation of the contents as it does not allow UV light through, and it looks pretty hot too! I always suggest using a UV protective fixative when your inks have been applied to paper and are dry. (I use a resin based brand, but there are also casein based brands on the market). Alternately you can catalogue them digitally, and have prints made or simply enjoy how they change over time. I always have my art work digitally rendered and printed by a fabulous fine art printer to archival standards. Having work framed using museum grade glass is another route that you can take. Fine Art framers will offer this service. All of my inks have been crafted with knowledge of this and as such, I take it as part of high making standards that what I offer you here have been organically modified to preserve their colour and vibrancy for a wee bit of time anyway!

Do you make inks to order?

I collaborate with other artists from various disciplines to create specific materials for them. I come to ink making from a fine art back ground. My roots are as an artist, therefor I understand the importance of flow, consistency, communication between medium and creator, because after all, I make these colours, first and fore most, for my own mark making! I have and currently am working with : A print maker, and illustrator, a hand poke traditional tattooist, and several painters, to develop specific vegan, handmade, hedge inks for them and their various practices. Check out the Collaboration section of this website for further detail, and contact me to chat about future collaborations.

Are these inks for brush work or calligraphy?

All my inks are made for brush work, but most are also compatible to dip pen. There will soon be a small batch, specifically for calligraphy pen, which I understand are a big thing!

On Prints and works on paper

Will my original piece be colourfast?

Yes it will. I use a resin based UV protective fixative to ensure this. As my chosen fixative is resin based, it also means that it is an animal free product.

Will my print of your original work be colourfast?

Yes it will! My fine art printer uses archival quality, museum standard paper and inks to make these high quality prints. And, guess what, the inks used here too are vegan friendly!