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Painting with raw pigments found or made from the

environment may have been the starting point in the Stone

Age! but so many developments have been made since, recipes
and ingredients have literally been lost in time. Many were
recorded in archives and many were not, some recipes are still
in dispute to this day. It was almost like it was a black art
amongst scholars and painters alike.

Water colours are very closely related to cave paint, consisting

of a metal oxide and a water soluble binder similar to Gum-
Arabic - A closely related paint a cross between gauche &
watercolour Is egg tempura, utilising egg yolk as binder. Oil
Paint consists of a 'Drying Oil' like linseed or other seed/ nut
oils and intimately mixed with a ground pigment, such as an
oxide. Other pigments are derived form Herbs, Seeds, Roots &
Bark of Plants. Even cocheniel Beetles have been used since
antiquity. Some alternative sources are Organic Synthetic Azo
Dyes from Crude oil.

Most metal oxides in any of the above applications used by

many classic artists through the centuries are toxic and many
have been phased out for health reasons. Micas & Tinted clays
are mineral pigments used in face and body painting and
related to cave painting also.
Ink let's talk about ink - well ink is a bridge between a dye and
a pigment used in some paints, like water colour. But from
Natural sources and mainly non-toxic. Some plants are very
rich in tannins and some tannic acid---like Oak-galls /Acorn
Nut/ Horse-Chesnut- Onion Skins - Grape Skins - Black Tea ,
Red-wood bark,Oak bark and leaves. There are many more
sources not listed. These acids can be extracted using an alikali
salt such as Sodium /Potassium/ or Calcium Carbonate (for
insoluble, See lake pigments).

The main differences with inks and dyes is whether the

pigment is soluble or insoluble - insoluble is more a colloidal
solution. It can dye as it can have 'Mordant' properties (bites
into the surface of cotton). There are so many details I would
like to cover- Involving Colour permanence - How light
refects and plays an integral part in how certain wave-lengths
are reflected and more chemistry.

But I Must Not Digress Any Further - let's make some

ink,,!!!!!! --------->>>>>>>

Step 2: Tools & Materials

Goggles nitrile-gloves or any other gloves to prevent staining.
Two stainless steel Sauce pans you can Use one but you will
need a (Steel drinks can) ink will eat aluminium.
Knife and Cutting Board
Avocado Pit ,Distilled Water (tap-water is okay)
Hob (low Setting)
Sodium Carbonate (instruction to make it) see proceedure....
Equimolar NaOH & NaHCO3 or Calcination of Baking soda.
Image 3 is result after dehydration of both pathways.
Gum Arabic Crystals Pestle & Mortar (or crush between Two
A brown bottle & Funnel
Two Spoons.

Step 3: Tools and Materials Necessary &


If you want to make a small amount of ink you just need (1)
Fresh Avocado Pit. Drop into hot water for a few mins - the
outer brown skin will blister and aid the peeling of the pit. The
pit is a seed, so it is easy to part into two pieces. Now chop
each half into little bits like you would finely chop an onion.
Take a small saucepan (Stainless Steel Only) and fill with
200ml of hot water, the 200ml needs to be maintained
throughout the process. You may see a light orangy colour in
the water, similar to when preparing potatoes. Put onto a low
Setting a little simmer only.

Now add (1 tsp of Sodium Carbonate) sodium Carbonate can

be made two ways ----- calcination of baking soda (Strongly
Heating in oven) or my way for quick use. Weigh out
equimolar amounts of NaOH & NaHCO3 - place 2gms of
Hydroxide and 4.3 gms Baking Soda (bicarbonate) in enough
water to dissolve them - use cold water and put hydroxide in
first, then put baking soda in. When dissolved add to the pot.

An amazing transformation should now be now witnessed.

First a Light Green & Then Slowly a Pink and After A little
while a Blood Red, like in the picture above. The cooking
process is relatively short 25-30 mins. If you have a deep
Blood Red by now then decant liquid into another vessel to
separate pit material. Add a small amount of water to the
material to wash/ extract more dye, then discard pit. Add the
wash to other pan to increase ink volume slightly.

Now we need to prepare a fixing additive . Take a level

teaspoon of Arabic-Gum crystals and grind into powder using
pestle & mortar. Or between two spoons, add this to the ink
and dissolve. Now we are ready cover pan and leave to settle
and cool - decant into a tightly fitting brown bottle. When
decanting take care not to spill liquid as it's very messy and
disregard any sediment which may be in the bottom of the