Sunday, May 03, 2009

Bad Ink Day

Yesterday I decided, based largely on the unpleasant smell and the presence of many small insects, that it was time to drain the walnut ink. I've been soaking the walnuts for about 2 months in a large lidded pot on the back step. Now that it's definitely winter I'd quite like my soup pot back in the kitchen. None of these indicators (smell, insects and repurposing the pot) are to be found in the collective wisdom of the interweb regarding the making of walnut ink. If you have stumbled across this post in the search for walnut ink making advice, I suggest you keep googling: there's plenty of useful information around that will serve you better.

My walnut ink, unfortunately turned out to be much more insipid that my tests had suggested it would be. It does make a lovely golden brown wash but sadly is too light for writing, unless you want to forge documents from the Renaissance. I am disappointed and a bit surprised at how it all turned out since I am not a particularly impatient person, and when I started brewing my ink I was prepared for it to take as long as it would take.

I woke up feeling very out of sorts yesterday, which was probably why I impetuously decided to finish off the ink by straining it through cheesecloth (which I should have dampened first but didn't). Naturally the disappointment of having made such a poor job of the ink only worsened my mood, feeding into a spiralling miasma of frustration and failure that coloured almost everything I did all day.

Fortunately the only irrevocable mistake of my Very Bad Day was the ink. I had only invested a couple of dollars and a couple of hours in the project to that point, so nothing has been lost but potential. If anyone has a use for two litres of sepia walnut wash, let me know. Meanwhile, today I have begun fresh with a positive attitude and determination to try and do right.


Carol said...

How disappointing about the walnut ink! Sounds as though it would be a nice wash over journal pages - not that I ever get organised enough to prep my pages with anything. Maybe you could use it in your book binding.

tulibri said...

Can't one 'reduce' it, as chiefs would oput it, to a more dense quality by simmering it?

The Duckpond said...

May I venture to suggest that you have been a tad impatient with your walnut ink?!

Over the years I've used the outer walnut hulls for both dyeing wool and also for ink.

When making ink I would boil the walnut hulls for quite a few hours and the longer it was cooked (thus reducing the liquid), the thicker and darker it became.

Is it too late to retrieve them and cook them a bit longer (without a lid on the pot)?

Kay said...

You've written a great post about it and produced some lovely photos ... so it wasn't all lost! :) (Feel free to call me Pollyanna!)

PG said...

Now if we lived within walking distance instead of being at either ends of the globe, I would probably take you up on that offer, as I use sepia washes in my painting. Two months is a long time to wait for a disappointment though, bad luck.

Anonymous said...

Hey Meliors
Could I please have the ink?
The backing on my latest painting (Defining Moments) is a montage of news print outs of heart warming stories I've been collecting over the years. Only thing is, they look very photo-copy paper white and I think a bit of Walnut sepia is just what they need ;-)
I'll understand if someone else has been lucky enough to be the recipient or if you've decided to try something else to get the ink texture you've been hoping for.

Anonymous said...

Yayayay - I got the ink today!
Thanks sososo much ;-)
I'll let you know how it goes...