DEFINE Visual Research – Natural Ink

I recently spoke to Ella Brett about her project – she is setting up a natural dye-making print studio which runs workshops. We decided to try an online dye-making session with Sian and Bex.

The process was surprisingly simple, and had a lot of scope for experimentation.

I began by foraging for plants and leaves on my way home from work. I tried to select a wide range of (hopefully not poisonous) materials.

The next day Ella talked us through the rest of the process. I chopped/shredded leaves into small pieces, added some water, and heated them up, testing out the ink at regular intervals to see how strong it was.

This was a really interesting exercise. I enjoyed how slow the process was, and collecting the materials made me pay attention to the details around me while I was walking.

I’m not sure how I can take this forward however, because the colours I can create this way are very limited (various shades of green and brown), and also because the inks are quite light and washy. I suspect they will be good to layer up with some more intense pigments further down the line.