Late January, a friend and I drove a few towns over to visit the lovely little village of Elora. The shop of LemonTree Interiors & Co was first on our list to visit. As we were parking, I recognized Sophia from her Instagram account. You need to understand that Sophia is a bit of a design “rock star” to me, so I was a tad nervous to introduce myself. I noticed that she was getting boxes out of her car, so I pulled up my “big girl” pants and asked if she was indeed Sophia of LemonTree Interiors and if she needed some help. Sophia gracefully embraced my fan-girl approach and welcomed us into her quaint little shop.
As we entered, I was swept away by the elegant curation of vintage, sustainable and modern decor. Naturally, I began chatting about a new stamping ink that I was working on and then Sophia got a twinkle in her eye and reached into a drawer. She pulled out gorgeous teak stamps that had been hand carved in India and said that she had been waiting for “just the right moment” to unearth the stamps.
I left the shop that day with a few decor treats for myself, a bag full of teak stamps and a sense of excitement for our serendipitous art collaboration which we would later name INKPRINTS of time.
Let me tell you a bit about my process in creating these pieces. Crafting my stamping ink from lampblack soot is a slow and intensive process, but it never fails to reward me with a rich, velvety black. I add in a few other secret ingredients to ultimately form a vegan, sustainably sourced and archival ink. When I paint the ink onto the antique stamps it creates pure “black” magic.
The paper is created by Canadian based company Papeterie Saint Armand. It is a flax/cotton canal paper fashioned from left over straw that is not composted in farm fields. This rough paper is made by mixing the beaten straw with rags. No bleach, chemicals or cooking is required. I hand-deckled the edges to create an unpolished juxtaposition with the black frame.
Inkprints of Time speaks of trusting the process. This series honors the idea that concepts can simmer until “the moment” arrives. For both Sophia and I, the moment arose with a serendipitous encounter that developed into these ink-prints that embrace time honoured traditions and pay homage to slow artisanal process.
To purchase these 14” x 14” framed pieces as either a set or as individual pieces, head over to LemonTree Interiors & Co where you will be delighted and inspired.
In the few years that I have been on this journey of handcrafting and painting with natural inks, I have developed my own pathways and discovered a few new trails along the way. Recently I was inspired, from a practical perspective, to collect recycled bottle caps and lids to use as ink vessels in my natural inks workshops. But filling avocado shells and milkweed pods with natural inks helps me to establish a much more organic atmosphere as I create in my studio.
In my last post, I focused on painting natural inks onto watercolour paper. But I have had quite a few enquires asking if natural inks can be painted onto canvas. I was directed by a fellow artist (Pamela Bates) to experiment with painting watercolour ground onto canvas. Watercolour ground is a primer that can be applied to a multitude of surfaces. The finish and appearance is very much like cold press watercolour paper.
Although painting onto a canvas with watercolour ground certainly doesn’t have the same magical absorption of watercolour paper, I found that there was an upside. Unlike watercolor paper, I was able to wipe off the ink with a damp rag if I wasn’t happy with the placement. Please note though, that even with a ground, canvas doesn’t typically like water and can create buckling (thank you Lisa Mclinden Art for the tip).
Since natural inks are water-based, you may need to experiment with how much water that you add to the canvas.
Fellow artist Carrie Ann Hall has created gorgeous paintings with my natural inks on both gessoed board and unprimed canvas and she doesn’t add water.
What about you? Have you had success painting natural inks onto canvas?
Are you looking for unique, creative AND sustainably-minded Valentine’s cards for your child’s class? Here is an easy, eco-friendly DIY Valentine kit designed to create with your little one. You can purchase this kit (with free shipping) here.
You will create your own sustainable stamps (only revealed once purchased) and using the avocado ink supplied, you and your little one will decorate mini organic cotton bags and a larger linen bag, designed to carry all the valentines to school in.
You will then paint two avocados and stamp a heart onto the natural paper provided using the avocado and buckthorn berry ink. After the ink is dry, you will use the Uni Ball pen to add in arms and legs.
Next, you will choose from a collection of fun avocado themed sayings and you or your child will write these sayings onto the cards. Finally, your child will write his/her name on the cards and tuck the cards into the mini bag.
Place all the mini bags in the larger bag and cinch shut. Your child will now be ready to take all the adorably handmade, yet sustainable Valentines to school.