Made with foraged oak galls to create a deep black ink that can also be thinned and used like watercolor. Use on paper or canvas.
Oak apples or oak galls, are small, round growths that form after a wasp has laid her eggs inside a developing oak shoot; the tree responds by growing plant tissue around the eggs. These oak apples protect the wasps during their season of growth; the pinprick hole in each marks the wasp’s exit. Galls can be found under oak trees, a wasp’s tiny discarded home scattered about in the fallen leaves.
Oak galls were used in ink-making recipes as far back as the Roman Empire. Iron gall ink was used for transcribing many important manuscripts and documents throughout history, including the Codex Sinaiticus, a handwritten copy of the Bible..
To create the ink, ground oak galls are soaked in water to achieve a dark brown, tannin-rich solution. Adding iron to the solution initiates a reaction that turns the ink black. As the ink is applied to paper, it begins to oxidize, darkening and deepening in color.