Botanical Inks is an experiment in colour extraction, colours made with botanical dyes and botanical inks; from flowers, leaves, bark, fruits and roots. The work is an ever evolving process, and an ever developing relationship with the plant life and environment that surrounds me. Everything is dyed with plants that grow in the area I live, meaning the work is specific to place.
To work with plants you need to know them, to learn what they are, where and how they grow. Every plant has its own characteristics; what conditions it favours for growth, which pollinators it attracts, which larva feed from them; the work is part investigation and part exploration of the uses. It requires observing and paying attention; when the Alexanders start to come, where the figworts appear. A process of noticing.
The process of dyeing is experimental, playful, messy. I discovered that it is good to keep records, that is is best to be methodical, that this is chemistry and that I actually like it. I make colours that might fade and it is ok that not everything is permanent; this is a work of process where a fixed outcome is not necessarily important. If colours fade fabrics can be re-dyed. I am learning.
I collect flowers and I keep a curious eye open for new plants to work with. I only forage what is abundant, most often taking flowers or leaves that have fallen to the floor. Sun jars use no energy, plant materials and fabric are left in a jar in the sun. It is a process of minimal impact and maximum patience.
Oxalis and acebuche are the jewels in the colour palette of my home in Southern Andalucia. For their richness of colour and presence, so ubiquitous and striking. The acebuchinas staining the ground under the trees, the purple bird droppings I find on my car, this is serious colour; a beautiful deep purple blue. The oxalis, Oxalis pes-caprae known here colloquially as vinagretas, is the joyful yellow that sweeps the landscape in Spring. Although it is invasive it has not shown to be negatively so and it makes a sunshine yellow dye colour as radiant as the flower itself.