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Processing Mulberry into a dye.

Processing mulberry using washing soda and alum. The traditional dyers method is toxic and not good for us or the environment. 

I use a painting method that dates back to the Middle Ages. Sharing my works with community is a part of my process. In my workshops, I share my findings in research in mycology and other sciences. I share how to turn natural materials such as plants, herbs, fruits, veggies, and spices into colorfast botanical palettes.  My website provides resources used in my research, experiments, and findings on how to create your own archival botanical palette. Now, I use my own recipes in my botanical palettes that are informed by middle age recipes and processes which includes the dying and painting of mycelium and other materials of solution. This is bio art, plant-based, eco-friendly, sustainable and 100% natural living art. My work is my approach to climate solutions. It is healthier for you, me, and the planet. I use layers of foraged, botanical watercolors, earth pigments, mycelium, tree resin and mica minerals to achieve the brilliant and deep colors found in each botanical material. In addition, I share mica mineral palettes, egg white, wheat paste, natural tannins, and natural mordents you can make yourself. 

At the Indiana University Lilly Library, I have researched illuminated manuscripts, recipes, and found that the scribes who painted these manuscripts were often referred to as an illuminators. Scribes used iron gall ink made from growths on oak trees caused by parasitic wasp. The galls were crushed and mixed with water; honey; sometimes with sulphuric acid—gum arabic, which is a binding agent; and iron shavings from the bottom of a cauldrons to make blue/black ink. Over time, the ink rusts, so, for example, the

writing of the Magna Carta is now brown.

Today, botanical painting methods are used for dying fabrics and other materials. With other advancements, we are able to save on time and costs to the approach of healthier methods of recreating this historical approach to botanical painting in addition to supporting a healthier environment. The permanence and water-resistance of the iron and gall-nut formula has made it the standard writing ink in Europe for over 1,400 years. I have spent the last 6 years exploring, experimenting, researching mycelium, and developing work inspired by the fungi kingdom, botanical recipes, methods and processes. Below are images of my journey into the underground and search for solutions to inspire a sustainable world. 

Color Samples
Making color with Black Calla Lily
Black Calla Lily
Let petals sit in water for one day and boil for 1 hour on the second day then let the color sit for one day
On the 4th day you will process your color and I will share with you how to do this.
This is your processed color liquor
Making color from a Shaggy Mane or Inky Cap Mushroom: Coprinus Comatus
This is an inky cap that I foraged for the purpose of making ink
Inky cap mushroom and blueberry

Inky cap mushroom and blueberry

Making color from Fall Leaves
Try to forage for your materials. You will find a deeper meaning when you find your own color.
The color liquor processed from Fall leaves
Making color from
Even artists such as Van Gogh used oak gall as washes in his paintings
There are different ways of processing color
There are many ways to prepare dyes and use them as watercolors. In my workshops I go over how to process botanical materials into archival and colorfast palettes
Inky cap, blueberry and burning bush
Making color from Burning Bush or Euonymus Alatus.

Inky cap mushroom, blueberry & Burning bush

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