Walnuts Continued

It’s finally time to get to that benignly-neglected walnut stash that has been fermenting in a dark cupboard in my studio since the summer of 2015.

At Canadian Thanksgiving in early October, I posted a few photos here of a quick dye/ink made with a few freshly foraged green walnuts that obliged by producing the above-pictured measure of dye.

I learned from my research, however, that the best walnut colours in terms of fastness  can be had from walnuts that have soaked for a year, water-covered, in wooden casks. Now my green walnuts had been soaking for three years in big glass jars, so neither extra tannins ( from the wood) nor oxygen (which is believed to optimize the dye characteristics) entered the glass jar as happens with wood casks.  One might expect bad smells and molds after all that time, too, but there were none of either. My three-year walnut liquid had simply  become a thick dark brown potage smelling slightly of the fall forest. I wonder if fermentation prevents the mold that walnut ink is reputed to harbour? Time will tell.

To make this batch of  walnut colour, I put half a potful of the mushy brown ferment (along with the still-hard nuts in their shells) in the slow cooker, covered the sludge with water and heated this for an hour or so at  80 – 90 C. After straining and filtering the liquid, I cooked it down by half until it was sort of a bit syrupy. The dye looks like this on watercolour paper:

The dye liquid, cooked down, was then put into wee bottles ( with some gum arabic added to ink it up) and  finished with walnut-dyed tags and labels:

Off to the craft fair next weekend in Chelsea, Quebec! And taking some buckthorn ink along, too:

Next ink colour to try is wild grape, waiting its turn in the stash, Might even have some ready to go with the walnut and buckthorn for next weekend! Naturally, the ink so-obtained can work as paint, also;  you can even add some other binder – an acrylic glazing liquid might be nice.

A la prochaine, mes amis/amies


6 thoughts on “Walnuts Continued

    1. I feel very annoyed by the ads, too, Carol! I get ads because my Word Press site is a free version. To be ad-free, I need to pay for an add-free privilege on my blog site. Even with a “free” site, I now pay WP for extra storage on my site since it has become quite content-heavy. To change over to a site I pay for and without ads at all is on my To Do list. When I first began to blog on WP, there were no ads. As time went by, just a few crept in..but now they are in your face, no question. I hope that the ads will not drive my readers away! I will be dropping a line to WP to see if they plan to moderate their ad deluge at least on blogs like mine that actually pay them something for stashing my stuff. Thanks for persevering.

  1. Hi Wendy, could you share with me the place where the Chelsea Craft Fair is taking place next weekend. I am very interested in getting some of your walnut ink.

    1. Hi Olga! Thanks so much for checking in. I will be at La Fab Centre des arts at 212 Chemin Old Chelsea, Quebec on Sun Dec 2 from 1 – 4 pm. I look forward to meeting you!


  2. What a wonderful colour! I hope the craft fair went well for you. And I look forward to seeing how the wild grape turns out – if the fermentation goes wrong perhaps you will have an interesting wine instead? 😉

    1. We got colded out, Kim! So will try for a craft fair in spring. Thanks for your posts – always so rich. And great about the craft fairs you are getting out to. Happy new year in colours!

      Xx Wendy

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