Monica Perez Vega

Contemporary Artist | My Life in Trees

Pine Cone Ink


After a sloppy and amateur start last week… I feel I redeemed myself slightly with my Sequoia pine cone ink this week. I just boiled them with soda crystals. I roughly tried to follow measurements I found online and record my process.

I think I was getting a little confused between making ink or pigment last week and ended up a little bit all over the place. I’m still getting my head around what’s what and how I will paint with it all, but I was quite pleased with these results.

I managed to boil the pine cones a second time around, and still got quite a bit of colour out of them. So, I attempted the pigment process with the second batch; the volcanic froth and filter… I left the filter out to dry and will see what comes of this experiment the next time I’m in the studio.

“Inkmaking is easiest when you are patient and remain open to everything. Some of the most interesting effects of handmade inkmaking happen when the unexpected happens.

-Jason Logan, MAKE INK, A Foreger’s Guide to Natural Inkmaking

I also had a play with beet powder and some pigments I picked up in Japan when I visited last Spring with my family.

On my last day in Tokyo, I made sure to visit the iconic PIGMENT art shop. Trying not to become overwhelmed with options, I selected two pigments I felt represented my trip the best. I chose the pink of the cherry blossoms and brown of the traditional houses. Come to find out that pink is very grainy, translucent and opalescent, but its source a mystery.

Lastly, I had a play with some of the waste material form this project and others. This lovely lump is made of left over coffee filters and pine needle pulp, sawdust, coffee grinds, agar and glycerin…

I’ll be impressed if it survives til my next studio day without going mouldy!

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