"Make Ink: A Forager's Guide to Natural Inkmaking" - Jason Logan & "Craft the Rainbow" - Brittany Watson Jepsen

“Make Ink” by internationally-recognized designer Jason Logan, whose illustrations regularly appear in the New York Times, showcases art and instructional segments dealing with discovering the joy of using small-batch inks that are “sensitive to place and environment.” Ink is distinguished from other art supplies due to its use as a tool for communication, unlike paint, which is a liquid color used predominately for creating images or covering various surfaces. Since the dawn of humanity, people have been leaving marks with burnt sticks, berries, or rock carvings, but “the use of ink as a transmitter of language can be traced back to the first evidence of civilization in China and Mesopotamia.” Progression from there naturally lead to the ability to permanently mark symbols that could be saved and transported, thereby opening up a wide range of communication, which was vital to the growth of civilization.

Logan’s quest to discover the endless possibilities for making ink began when he found a small bottle of brown ink made from black walnuts while shopping in an art supply store in New York. This led to an insatiable appetite to explore all avenues of harvesting materials that would produce new colors of ink, whether it was utilizing rusty bed springs, vines, berries or common weeds, just to name a few.

The book is divided into three parts: Find Ink, Make Ink, and Test Ink. The first part divulges the ground rules of foraging for natural ingredients, the second gives you tips on how to set up for processing those harvested materials plus a basic recipe, and the third offers advice on testing the finished inks in a multitude of ways. Using materials like black walnut, Hawaiian turmeric, oak gall, acorn cap, and copper, among many others, Jason Logan teaches us how to transform these foraged items into stunning, usable inks, as evidenced by the artwork in the last section of the book.

“Craft the Rainbow” by Brittany Watson Jepsen showcases forty colorful paper crafting projects for home décor, entertaining, and craft ideas suitable for many skill levels. Jepson’s creative genius is evident on her blog, “The House That Lars Built” where she has amassed a multitude of fans who love and follow her inspiring sense of fun and color. Step-by-step craft instructions lead us into the realm of our own personal color discovery, what triggers our individual emotions and memories, and why different colors influence us on different levels. There are also fun facts included in the color sections which are entertaining and enlightening, along with Jepsen’s personal journey stories. Both of these books can be found in the Adult Non-fiction section of the library: “Make Ink” is under call number 667.4 L828M and “Craft the Rainbow” is under call number 745.54 J469C.

-Debra, Roswell Public Library, New Mexico