Hope you all had a lovely Xmas break, I was struck by flu for the first week of the festive break, but luckily was up and about by Boxing Day so we were able to partake in that yearly phenomenon of families walking together in the countryside. I’m lucky enough to live within a short drive to the Peak District and we headed for a scenic walk around the Chatsworth Estate.
I was very happy to discover two ancient oak trees absolutely covered in oak galls, these are left by a wasp laying it’s eggs and creating a small spherical gall. The larvae then hatches and digs it’s way out of the gall leaving a tannin rich ball of loveliness for any eco artist. I quickly filled my gloves and pockets!
So this morning, I’ve been playing with a bit of kitchen witchery and grinding the galls before adding them to iron water and setting aside for a few days. There are several methods to making oak gall ink, but this is my favourite. I’ve also ordered some gum Arabic to experiment with a thickener so will post the results when I’ve made it and compared results.
In a week of such uncertainty, I realised I may have no influence in what is happening externally, other than putting a cross where my conscience tells me, i have tried to embrace the lack of control eco dyeing encourages me to embrace.
I am happy with chaos and surprise in my artwork but when it happens in life my brain shuts down into a spiral of depression, can I learn to transfer the excitement of unwrapping a bundle to the external world?
I may have cheated… I bought some roses that were reduced from the supermarket! This goes against all the ideas of the Sorrel and Silk project, which was to use foliage and flowers from Derbyshire. However, in my defence, yesterday it was an immense effort to get out of the house. I decided to have a go at just using petals and steaming the bundles to extract the colours from the petals. I’m really happy with the results. I have had my eye on some flowers in my garden, but as my daughter planted them, they are untouchable. These pieces will probably be used as backgrounds for collaged textile pieces later on this year.
Serendipitous experimenting on watercolour paper and cotton. The paper had also been rust dyed and created some vivid leaf prints.