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[BKARTS] Rotten ink



Dear List,

For some years I have been experimenting with various type of inks made
from different parts of various species of Walnut tree. I, until my most
recent batch, have never used preservatives in these inks (formaldehyde has
been suggested, as has a solution of salt and vinegar.) When the inks mold,
I strain it and go on. Rotten walnut hull (Juglans nigra) ink makes an
exquisite gray wash which has a dreadful smell. I work out of doors when I
use it. Sun drying eliminates the odor.

This year I decided to experiment with preservatives. As I don't like to
use poisons, I rejected the formaldehyde route and instead made some ink
from black walnut hulls with salt and vinegar added according to a "scribal
recipe" I found on the internet.  So far, I am not pleased with the results
- the texture of the ink seems altered and the color is lean -less
rich.  Also I have questions about the added acidity of the ink.

Those of you who have worked with scribal manuscripts on which nut and gall
inks have been used may be able to address my questions. Of course
excessively acid inks have a deleterious effect on paper and parchment. I
would like to balance the life of the ink with the life of the surface as
much as is possible. Are unpreserved inks "permanent"? Is there a reason
beyond aesthetics not to use moldy or rotted ink? If they are a problem,
will sun bleaching adequately kill molds? All suggestions are most welcome.

I thank you in advance of reply.

Jim Ann Howard

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