I am inspired by nature, especially the colours of nature. I work tends to follow the seasons, so I really love fall with the vibrant colours of the changing leaves.
Alcohol inks are chemical based and chemically bind to the surface so they become part of that surface. Non-alcohol inks are made from pigments, and will lay on the top of the surface and form a coating. Alcohol ink spreads on its own and regular ink does not. This makes alcohol ink very fluid and therapeutic to work with. You need to practice patience and mindfulness and just let the ink go where it wants to go.
Alcohol ink works best on glossy, non-porous surfaces, so I tend to use white ceramic or Yupo paper. There are many techniques used to create different patterns, including setting the ink on fire to burn off the alcohol. This produces a slightly muted effect and the ink stops flowing where the fire has touched. All work is preserved with a few coats of spray sealer and varnish. Pieces are not dishwasher or microwave safe and should not be used for food, unless it is something that is wrapped to prevent spillage onto the alcohol ink surface. The pieces should be considered more decorative.
I prefer to not use chemicals, except for alcohol ink, so all my scarves are hand-dyed using Mother Nature’s gifts. Some of the gifts are found in our own backyard (or pantry), such as black beans, teas, coffee, chokecherries , marigold, avocado, beets, but some of the dyes can’t be found locally and are purchased. My favorites include madder, sumac, logwood, black walnut, henna and cochineal. The scarves I use are 100% silk. They are first treated with a mordant and then either placed in a dye bath, or steamed if many dyes are being used. Scarves may be washed if necessary, in cold water, hung to dry and gently ironed.
Eco printing is the art of printing Mother Nature’s gifts on surfaces, such as paper or fabric. I like to experiment with paper and use leaves and flowers mostly from the backyard. It is hard to do in the winter! Eco printing involves placing the foliage on the paper, bundling those papers together and either steaming or boiling them. This transfers the image of the foliage onto the paper. The paper is a bit more fragile than when it went in the pot, but works very well in journals or notepads. I bind all the journals by hand and create unique covers for each.