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Pokeberry Ink


fiberdrunk
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Update: Well, the pokeberry ink didn't even last a month before it began to change in the bottle, though it did stay pinker longer than the vinegar/salt recipe. It began to separate and have flow problems, too, the older it got, even after shaking it back together. So as I've said before, this is a novelty ink to enjoy in the very short-term. Make up enough for only a week or two of use. You can freeze the berries if you want more ink during the off-season. The writing sample that has been kept in the dark still looks nice and pink. Writing samples put in the sun faded completely within about 5-6 days. I'll post again in several months what the writing samples stored in the dark look like. I'm curious if they will brown or fade or not. Past vinegar recipe ink remained pink in the dark but faded dramatically over time.

 

And no, don't drink this ink, lol!

 

Next question (although I do not have poke here, it's fun to discuss)--does fermentation affect the separation/flow problems?

 

I'd have no problems with an ink that was merely brown, since there are so many brown inks already. But separation AND flow issues sound like dealbreakers.

 

You have inspired me to look into local berries for ink sources, though.

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I didn't see separation with the fermented one, but the flow eventually got worse as it aged (it did last longer than this batch, though); and the color was not stable (fermenting it made it purple initially and then it turned lavender, then gray, then more or less too pale to use). Here's the writing sample I did at the time. You can see the differences in colors between the non-fermented vinegar/salt recipe and the fermented version:

 

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5124/5357615970_1982dc18bb_b.jpg

 

Maybe I'll try fermenting another batch and adding alum to it and see what happens.

Edited by fiberdrunk

Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

 

"I don't wait for inspiration; inspiration waits for me." --Akiane Kramarik

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not to go off topic, (pokeberry), but want to compliment the black walnut iron ink.. very pleasant color. How stable did this one remain over a long period of time?

 

Thanks! The black walnut is aging great so far. That one doesn't seem to change color at all. It doesn't darken like an iron gall ink, by the way. Just stays darker brown.

Edited by fiberdrunk

Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

 

"I don't wait for inspiration; inspiration waits for me." --Akiane Kramarik

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So, just for curiosity's sake, I want to know whether you used the Vector as a fountain pen or as a dip pen. The reason I ask is because I think I've read that you don't want to use gum arabic inks in fountain pens at all (hence the warnings about not using India ink in anything but a dip pen).

This might be fun to try, though -- I'm pretty sure I've got pokeberries growing in my yard. I bought an oak gall ink kit a couple of weeks ago (I think it's enough to make a couple of batches) but I still have to get a dedicated marble mortar and pestle -- somehow I don't think my husband will like me using the kitchen one, even though these days we mostly a coffee grinder to grind spices.... :rolleyes: And just for giggles I bought a quill pen and dried ink kit at Fort Necessity's gift shop in June.

As if I don't have enough ink already.... Okay, I probably don't. :roflmho:

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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So, just for curiosity's sake, I want to know whether you used the Vector as a fountain pen or as a dip pen. The reason I ask is because I think I've read that you don't want to use gum arabic inks in fountain pens at all (hence the warnings about not using India ink in anything but a dip pen).

This might be fun to try, though -- I'm pretty sure I've got pokeberries growing in my yard. I bought an oak gall ink kit a couple of weeks ago (I think it's enough to make a couple of batches) but I still have to get a dedicated marble mortar and pestle -- somehow I don't think my husband will like me using the kitchen one, even though these days we mostly a coffee grinder to grind spices.... :rolleyes: And just for giggles I bought a quill pen and dried ink kit at Fort Necessity's gift shop in June.

As if I don't have enough ink already.... Okay, I probably don't. :roflmho:

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

 

I've been making traditional iron gall inks with gum arabic and have been able to wrangle a few fountain pens into accepting it (Pilot 78G, Pilot Parallel, Parker Vector, Jinhao x450 and x750, Osmiroid India Ink Fountain Pen etc.) It did not flow in a Platinum Preppy and some other pens. I wouldn't try it in an expensive fountain pen. It just depends on the type of ink feed (Pilot pens seem exceptional in this regard.) I did try the pokeberry ink in a cleaned out empty cartridge in the Vector. It did flow for a couple days then had to be flushed to get it going again. Even when it did flow, the results were rather dull. So I wouldn't really call it a success (too high maintenance with dull appearance). The dip pen definitely brought out the best of the ink color/properties.

 

Where did you find an oak gall ink kit? That is so cool!

Edited by fiberdrunk

Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

 

"I don't wait for inspiration; inspiration waits for me." --Akiane Kramarik

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I sent your recipe to my friend in the south! Finally, a purpose for those pesky weeds! Thanks for sharing and keep us posted.

I'm not in favor of natural selection. I'm just saying: Let's remove the warning lables and see what happens.

 

Aurora Ipsilon .925 RB, ST Dupont Nacre Noire RB

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The oak gall ink kit was from a company called Guild Mirandola. They have a booth at a major SCA event I go to every year, selling calligraphy and illumination supplies, and teaching classes on related topics such as painting icons. I think they're from the NYC area (always got the impression that they had been students at a place called the School of the Sacred Arts).

I don't normally do calligraphy and illumination, so I don't normally stick my head in their booth, but this year at Pennsic I did. The kit has some oak galls, small containers of ferrous sulfate and gum arabic, and directions; the ingredients are supposed to be enough for a coupe of batches. They also had some other kits, like one for panel painting, but those cost more (although still under $20 US).

Guild Mirandola has a website: www,guildmirandola.com -- I haven't looked at it yet, and haven't really looked at the kit all that carefully either, other than a quick skim of the directions, so I can't say if it's going to be worthwhile or not. But for $10 it was worth playing with, just for the giggle factor if nothing else. Well, $10 plus tax plus getting another marble mortar and pestle, and a cheap pot to boil everything up in, and.... :headsmack: Oh, and a dip pen, too, and maybe a couple of sturdy glass jars (I have to get more distilled water anyway because of pen cleaning :rolleyes: ).

I think I'll never quibble about the price of Rouge Hematite ever again. :roflmho:

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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The oak gall ink kit was from a company called Guild Mirandola. They have a booth at a major SCA event I go to every year, selling calligraphy and illumination supplies, and teaching classes on related topics such as painting icons. I think they're from the NYC area (always got the impression that they had been students at a place called the School of the Sacred Arts).

I don't normally do calligraphy and illumination, so I don't normally stick my head in their booth, but this year at Pennsic I did. The kit has some oak galls, small containers of ferrous sulfate and gum arabic, and directions; the ingredients are supposed to be enough for a coupe of batches. They also had some other kits, like one for panel painting, but those cost more (although still under $20 US).

Guild Mirandola has a website: www,guildmirandola.com -- I haven't looked at it yet, and haven't really looked at the kit all that carefully either, other than a quick skim of the directions, so I can't say if it's going to be worthwhile or not. But for $10 it was worth playing with, just for the giggle factor if nothing else. Well, $10 plus tax plus getting another marble mortar and pestle, and a cheap pot to boil everything up in, and.... :headsmack: Oh, and a dip pen, too, and maybe a couple of sturdy glass jars (I have to get more distilled water anyway because of pen cleaning :rolleyes: ).

I think I'll never quibble about the price of Rouge Hematite ever again. :roflmho:

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

Fantastic! You sound like you're on your way to this ink-making obsession! I think you'll find you'll save money in the long run. My most expensive iron gall ink only costs me 28 cents per ounce by 2010 prices. My pomegranate iron gall ink came to only 6 cents per ounce. OK, you do have to buy your supplies and chemicals and such. That's a small chunk up front. But the chemicals go a long way. Thanks for the link, by the way. I'm thrilled to know there's another source out there for oak galls. Those aren't always easy to come by in the U.S. I hope when you make up your ink you'll post and tell us about it. I think it's so cool somebody put a kit together to do that! :thumbup:

Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

 

"I don't wait for inspiration; inspiration waits for me." --Akiane Kramarik

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I sent your recipe to my friend in the south! Finally, a purpose for those pesky weeds! Thanks for sharing and keep us posted.

 

I hope your friend has as much fun with it as I do every year.

Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

 

"I don't wait for inspiration; inspiration waits for me." --Akiane Kramarik

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Fantastic! You sound like you're on your way to this ink-making obsession! I think you'll find you'll save money in the long run. My most expensive iron gall ink only costs me 28 cents per ounce by 2010 prices. My pomegranate iron gall ink came to only 6 cents per ounce. OK, you do have to buy your supplies and chemicals and such. That's a small chunk up front. But the chemicals go a long way. Thanks for the link, by the way. I'm thrilled to know there's another source out there for oak galls. Those aren't always easy to come by in the U.S. I hope when you make up your ink you'll post and tell us about it. I think it's so cool somebody put a kit together to do that! :thumbup:

 

Oak galls...hard to come by? Hmm. Must vary by oak species/region. The oak woods I grew up near (Oregon White Oak, also known as Garry Oak) were studded with galls--the kid next door and I used to throw rocks up into the branches to bring them down. When you see oaks in a park, there are usually dried old galls lying around like windfall apples.

 

Maybe I should gather some up and Ebay them, if they're scarce in some parts. ;)

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Oak galls...hard to come by? Hmm. Must vary by oak species/region. The oak woods I grew up near (Oregon White Oak, also known as Garry Oak) were studded with galls--the kid next door and I used to throw rocks up into the branches to bring them down. When you see oaks in a park, there are usually dried old galls lying around like windfall apples.

 

Maybe I should gather some up and Ebay them, if they're scarce in some parts. ;)

 

Yes, I meant the aleppo variety of oak gall. It's found in the middle east, so there aren't many companies in the U.S. that sell it. You can make iron gall ink from the kind you mentioned, but the tannic acid content is much lower and may make a greenish or brownish gray rather than a rich black color like the aleppo galls do. It'll make a less stable ink over time, too. I would love to see more oak galls offered on eBay, though, even the American varieties.

Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

 

"I don't wait for inspiration; inspiration waits for me." --Akiane Kramarik

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  • 2 weeks later...

What a novel use for pokeweed, beats eating poke salat anyway. Stuff grows like crazy around here! What sort of tincture do you make for it? I'd heard of using the berries as an anti-inflammatory but with the care you have to take just cooking the shoots (the least toxic part) the stuff has just always made me nervous.

 

You wouldn't happen to know if any decent ink could be made with mulberries, would you? Not that I want to give any of my supply from my new wild bushes up, but they stain like crazy and it occurred to me that they might be useful as a dye in an ink.

<em class='bbc'>I started nowhere, ended up back there. I caught a fever and it burned up my blood. It was a pity, I left the city; I did me some travelin' but it's done me no good.</em> - Buffalo Clover "The Ruse"

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What a novel use for pokeweed, beats eating poke salat anyway. Stuff grows like crazy around here! What sort of tincture do you make for it? I'd heard of using the berries as an anti-inflammatory but with the care you have to take just cooking the shoots (the least toxic part) the stuff has just always made me nervous.

 

You wouldn't happen to know if any decent ink could be made with mulberries, would you? Not that I want to give any of my supply from my new wild bushes up, but they stain like crazy and it occurred to me that they might be useful as a dye in an ink.

 

 

I make tincture out of the roots, with 100-proof vodka. A dosage is a mere 1 to 5 drops (more than that and you'll vomit violently or get horrid diarrhea or both!) It knocks out infections. Anti-cancer, too. It revs up the immune system. (For more info on how to use this plant herbally, see Susan Weed's herbal book for breast cancer.)

 

I've never tried it, but I'm sure you could use mulberries to make an ink. I have a couple of baby mulberry trees that I hope will produce berries soon.

Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

 

"I don't wait for inspiration; inspiration waits for me." --Akiane Kramarik

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  • 5 weeks later...

I just completed a fermented batch of this ink. So far so good. But we'll see how this ink ages both on the page and inside the bottle.

 

Fermented Pokeberry Ink

 

100 ml pokeberry juice

1/8 teaspoon alum

3 grams powdered gum Arabic

1/4 cup 100-proof vodka

A few whole cloves

 

Allow the pokeberry juice to ferment in a glass jar for a month. Strain and boil the juice for 10 minutes, to stop fermentation. Add the alum and gum Arabic. Stir well. Add the vodka. Allow to sit overnight (it will take this long for the gum Arabic to totally dissolve). Stir well again and strain one more time. Add a few cloves to help preserve it. Yields approximately 150 ml (5 ounces) of ink.

 

Observations: This ink is not as vibrant a pink as other batches, and it seems to only be pink on Strathmore 100% cotton paper. On Sugarmade (sugarcane/bamboo) paper, it initially writes pink but quickly turns lavender as it dries. Both papers are acid-free. This ink has more water resistance than the other batches. In the past when I've done a fermented ink, the ink went from a lavender to a gray within a couple weeks, so we'll see if this recipe can preserve the color a little longer this time.

 

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8313/8039563816_52d281bbbe_b.jpg

 

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8432/7791957960_ef9cf6b663_z.jpg

Edited by fiberdrunk

Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

 

"I don't wait for inspiration; inspiration waits for me." --Akiane Kramarik

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  • 4 months later...

This is so cool! We get tons of poke weed around here, and my dad mentioned that it the berries were used to make ink. I'll have to try this.

http://i.imgur.com/HkYlgTM.png
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It's something I look forward to each summer. Neither recipe I've tried has produced a long shelf life ink, though. The first non-fermented recipe with alum that I posted at the beginning of this thread has retained its nice pink color on the page, but separated out pretty quickly in the bottle (within a few weeks). The last recipe I posted (the fermented one) turned brown on the page and also separated out inside the bottle pretty quickly. So make a small batch of this stuff at a time, write a few letters with it, and enjoy it as the seasonal ink that it is. It will always be available again next year! (Or freeze the berries and make fresh ink as needed.) Better yet, see if you can improve on the longevity of this ink!

Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

 

"I don't wait for inspiration; inspiration waits for me." --Akiane Kramarik

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Thanks for the tips. I'll keep all that that in mind.

http://i.imgur.com/HkYlgTM.png
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  • 3 months later...

The poke berries are starting to come in. I'm gonna have to have a harvest soon.

http://i.imgur.com/HkYlgTM.png
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