Buckthorn for ink

Posted on June 26th, by jane in ink. Comments Off on Buckthorn for ink

Lots of Buckthorn growing on the edge of the wetlands

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 1.37.00 PM  Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 1.40.23 PMFrom the dried berries, a series of rich but fugitive colours is obtained; the berries used to be sold under the name of ‘French berries’ and imported with those of Rhamnus infectorius from the Levant. If gathered before ripe, the berries furnish a yellow dye, used formerly for staining maps or paper. When ripe, if mixed with gum-arabic and limewater, they form the pigment ‘Sap or bladder green,’ so well known to water-colour painters. The bark also affords a yellow dye..

Buckthorn berry juice contains Rhamnocathartin (which is yellowand uncrystallizable), Rhamnin, a peculiar tannic acid, sugar and gum. The fresh juice is coloured red by acids and yellow by alkalies, and has a bitter taste and nauseous odour. Its specific gravity should be between 1.035 and 1.070, but it is seldom sold pure. The ripe berries yield on expression 40 to 50 percent of juice of a green colour, which on keeping turns, however, gradually to a reddish or purplish brown colour, on account of the acidification of the saccharine and mucilaginous matter.


some dye recipes”

Per pound of wool:
3 oz. Alum (potassium Alum Sulfate)
1 oz Cream of Tartar (potassium bitartrate)
5 gallons of soft water Simmer for 20 minutes, drain
& rinse yarn.
Take green berries and smash them. I used half as
much berries as yarn by weight. Add sufficient water
to cover the yarn and bring to a simmer. Keep at this
heat for about 10 minutes. When the water hit about
170 degrees Farenheit, the dyebath exhausted.
Results were a bright yellow yarn.

buckthorn berry ink


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