Plant Based Artisinal Ink

Blackberry Calligraphic Ink

Blackberry Calligraphic Ink

This is a departure from my customary post, yet an alchemical expression, uniting our being with nature.  From beginning to end, it is most satisfying being a part of the process.

Blackberries ripening in the morning sun.

Blackberries ripening in the morning sun.

Harvest about one cup fresh, handpicked berries.

Gathered Sun-kissed Berries

Gathered Sun-kissed Berries

Wash well and allow to dry thoroughly, so as not to dilute the concentration.

Dry berries

Clean, dry berries

With mortar and pestle, gently crush berries into a jammy consistency.

Crushed blackberries

Crushed blackberries

Cook in a double boiler over medium heat.  Simmer covered for 20 – 30 min.

Cooked berries

Cooked berries

Strain cooked berries through a 100% cotton cloth.  Double a draw-string tea bag over on itself pouring berries directly into a sterile glass ink well.

Draining berries

Draining berries

Macerate berries with grain alcohol, or at least 80 proof vodka; to further extract essential plant oils while draining.

Ingredients for extraction

Ingredients for extraction

Add 2-3 tablespoons gum arabic to thicken.  I added 1 Tbsp. liquid Gum Arabic with a mineral spirit-like preservative quality.

Final Product

Final Product

Squeeze bag gently until all liquid juice has been fully extracted.

Allow to cool and paint, or write away!

Berry Artistic Ink

Berry Artistic Ink

I could not wait to apply brush to parchment and experience the glide of this yummy medium.  The color is lighter than anticipated, but will undoubtedly darken over time as exposed to UV rays, and the aroma is so “jammy” wafting off the page, that I expect my artwork to be perfectly edible.  This is a quick and simple craft to potentiate your art, and I successfully did it ALL while wearing white!

Finding Your Foundation

For any foundation to be stable, it requires a minimum of three supports to create harmony and balance…

Spiritual

                              Emotional                                        Physical

When out of balance, illness results.

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Biochemical Alchemy label

Paracelsus is attributed to having said: “Man is a microcosm, or a little world, because he is an extract from all the stars and planets of the whole firmament, from the earth and the elements; and so he is their quintessence.”  Discovering the fascinating capabilities of our bodies solidifies our integral understanding of life’s perpetual cycle. This, in turn, supports our own ability to heal.

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Essential botanicals

Healthcare is a balance of what has been distinguished as conventional and alternative practices, effective when used in concert.  Also known as “functional medicine”, this philosophy is an approach designed to enhance outcomes.  If the body is treated holistically, then a broad spectrum of modalities should be taken into consideration.  When allopathic medicine is initially administered, it renders alternative approaches impotent by the medical model.  Take for example, the action of surgical and pharmaceutical procedures.  These so-called “alternatives” should be chosen as the primary approach because it elevates the body’s ability to heal itself.  The exception is in a true medical emergency.

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Versatile healing plant

I am truly amazed how versatile herbs are.  Not only the plant themselves, but the many forms in which they may be employed.  One herb can serve multiple purposes.  This utilitarian concept illustrates the convenience of over-the-counter (OTC) meds and prescriptions that are manufactured to treat one symptom, or symptoms; period.  We have become programmed to being highly specialized in our healthcare at the expense of our own health.  Focusing on ailments, we continue to treat the symptoms rather than addressing the source.  Choosing to seek several different doctors for each set of symptoms and diagnoses whilst losing sight of the broad spectrum of holistic practices.

 How Plants Heal

According to Master Herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar, “The prevailing scientific view is that all disease is caused on a molecular level.  A chemical drug produces its effect by entering a cell through a receptor that conforms to the shape of the molecule like a “lock and key”.  In contrast, medicinal plants are described by their adherents as working on a higher physiological level making them more versatile.” 

Herbal adaptogens contain multiple constituents working together to produce a combined effect surpassing their individual potential.   This botanical synergism is the science of “nutrigenomics” – highly active substances from food and natural resources that serve as potent dietary signaling molecules, effecting genetic expression.  Taking a synthesized supplement is not equivalent to the multiple benefits from eating fresh, whole food.  Modes of preparation and ingestion are also important.  To illustrate, hepatotoxicity occurs with concentrated pyrrolizidine alkaloids present in comfrey root.  Aerial parts of this plant contain less and are absorbed transdermally.  Oral consumption of comfrey is ill advised as a direct route for ingestion.  Allantoin and rosmarinic acid are anti-inflammatory constituents primarily present in leaves and flowers, therefore; of therapeutic value.

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Prepared plant parts

Plants impart wisdom to those of us willing to learn.  They offer a unique pathway to healing and healthcare.  Herbal preparations range from household products and cosmetics to prescriptives that maintain a chemical balance throughout for plants, animals and people alike.  The most outstanding gift of plants is that they strengthen our relationship with life and the natural world supporting the “permaculture” philosophy of how our biological beings relate synergistically to our physical environment to work in harmony.  Herbology is considered an alternative modality, though it offers an elegant biochemical for healing.  In its most basic element, a nutritive protocol, a philosophy and a lifestyle practice, Herbology is naturally the “art of healing”.

As a Certified Herbalist, I plant my own healing garden I harvest to prepare herbal tinctures, blends, remedies and food to maintain vitality.  A lifelong practice, herbalism is a craft carefully cultivated from intuition, science and strong belief.  These are the elements to necessitate transformation.  These are the ingredients connecting us with our roots that formulate a balanced lifestyle.

 

Allegorical book titles:

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Artisanal Alchemist – Bethane M. Evans

  1. Snapdragons, Cardamom, Portulacas and Peppercorns:  A Hibiscus Tree’s Perspective
  2. I am the First, Last and Only
  3. ALCHEMICALLY YOURS, Plant Intuitive
  4. A Touch of Existential Flu – A Healthy Contradiction
  5. Nutrigenomic Expression:  An Anthropological Approach to Indigenous Plants

Every day to day is “Earth Day”

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N. America and Terminus

Something ordinary, something simple – perhaps overlooked, fueling activism and inspiring…

Alchemy:

The “…process of transmuting a common substance, usually of little value, into a substance of great value.”

What Is Alchemy?

Alchemy Is a Craft

Alchemy Is a Science

Alchemy Is an Art

 

Adversity adversely avers

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Versal “B” by BME.

Once upon a time…I embarked on a journey back in time.  Lost in my future questioning “What next”, I sought comfort in the catacombs of my parent’s basement practicing calligraphy throughout the day and night.  I researched and explored everything I could on the subject while frequenting The Cleveland Museum of Art, galleries, book stores, graphic supply stores, local art centers and classrooms, all where I felt most welcomed.  During my quest, advisors and mentors guided me into a land filled with parchment paper trees and materials I soon fashioned into tools for my craft.  These materials were an extension of me where I initially applied a part of myself for others to see.

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J.Allen, author
Art by BME.

Sister St. “K” met with me each week for instruction.  Her enthusiasm as a scribe exuded from beneath her habit and her kind and gentle smile was a reassuring hug affirming I was on the right path.  Her knowledge and skill was blessed by a power extending beyond the high Gothic arches of the Institutions antiquated halls.  I was dreaming while wide awake.

Invaluable words were her gift.  Sister watched me work, observing my penchant for wanting to do everything “right”.  She smiled and spoke softly saying “Try not to hold the quill tightly, let your spirit move through it, guiding your feelings”.  As soon as I eased my death grip (desperate not to let go of the wonderful world I had recently discovered), my creativity flowed with the ease of the ink, leaving a stain so sincere and effortless…reflecting back at me.  This was my introduction to the imperative lesson of “letting go”, that we have no unilateral control.

I received two invaluable gifts that year.  ‘The Prophet’, by Kahlil Gibran, with an inscription from a very dear friend so profound, it became the proverbial beacon I soon memorized, holding on the forefront of my mind.  I practiced writing his words every day.  For hours I focused on the form and structure while the meaning of his words permeated my heart, giving me function. The following year while in Graphics design critique, I hastily constructed the assignment presently due.  I took advantage of the Professor’s critical focus and impulsively fulfilled my interpretation of the specs, drawing from these two (three) inspirational people.  As class came to a conclusion, I scooted to the front of the room reluctantly pinning my work to the board so as not to be noticed, but still get credit.  The Professor hesitated, her affect changed and she proceeded to act out the free-form and spontaneous style she announced “Captured the purpose of the exercise.”  “How the letters hang together, exposing a balance of positive/negative space…”  She asked me to share my process.  “How did you come up with this alphabet?”  I blushed and decided to come clean, simply admitting that I had procrastinated and created the project on a wing and a prayer, unbeknownst to anyone how literally true that was.  I could feel the vibration of my heart pounding throughout my body, so loud in my head that I could barely hear her as she exclaimed:  “That is the most authentic expression; THAT, people, is art!”

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“Happiness” by Heath
Calligraphy by BME.

“No matter how far away you think you are from the truth and the meaning of life, just remember happiness is in the palm of your hand-the problem lies in recognizing and realizing it’s there.”  Heath