I decided to learn something new. When it comes to art, I think I am a well-rounded artist. I am better at some things than others but consider myself pretty knowledgeable of most mediums and subject matters. However, I decided to learn something different and that is to make my own art materials. I have been successful making my own inks to some extent from things I grow in my gardens but other than making vegetable dyes or adding oils to powdered pigments I haven’t explored past that. But today is the day I have signed up to learn from a master pigment maker and dyer. My first task will be to learn a better way to extract pigment from plants. I shall tackle madder first I think, or maybe indigo. From there I hope to create some oil pastels or crayons.

I am planning to work my way around the color wheel and value scale to see what I can achieve. I have always used dyes for my basketry materials but have never produced enough dye for any large quantity. Onion skins, cabbage leaves, marigolds, etc. have all been used to dye materials, but as I mentioned not in vast quantity. I will try to eventually create some sort of crayon using beeswax so that my young granddaughter will be able to safely use them. Plus, I would love to be able to make a boxed set to give to my favorite artist friends. What do you think? Too ambitious? Well, we shall see.

In the meantime, I think I will create some colorful napkins using white cotton fabric and some colorful petals from flowers. An easy way to get those pretty flower prints is to sandwich the fresh flowers between the layers of cotton fabric and hammer them. Yes, you read that correctly, hammer them…with a hammer. This makes the colored pigment dye right into the fabric. Simply take off the remnants and you have a pretty floral print.

Check back to see how I am getting along with my pigments. Until then, try something new for yourself and grow as an artist.