Monday, April 16, 2018

Calendula paint


and here it is under different lighting, click Read More please!


Calendula yellow

Calendula officinalis, pot marigold, is a beautiful little flower, sometimes called poor man's saffron.

I know one can make paint out of saffron, like I did here, so why not try Calendula?



 Read more about my Calendula experiment below!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Sambucus spp. Elderberries

You know when you think you know what you're talking about and then 'Eureka!' you decide your assumptions/theories/plans were wrong. Oops!

I keep reading about anthocyanin pigments (Neven 173-4) and how they can be produced by various things including elderberries. All of a sudden I went back to a different book and my mind opened up. Sambucus spp. are not always what we want to grow to make Elderberry wine or pie... 'Dwarf elder', which is what one of the medieval treatises calls for, is a different plant!

Sambucus ebulus
Dwarf Elder, otherwise known as Danewort "is the most active pharmacologically... it's fruit should be considered poisonous. The dark purple berries are certainly violently purgative; in the Middle Ages both these and the roots or root bark were used as such.
...
The Anglo-Saxons and Gauls employed Dwarf Elder berries as a blue dye, and this is now the main use for this herb." (Stuart 258)

So... I guess I need to grow S. ebulus this year too!

Smith and Hawthorne 41

lulax means indigo

Looking for another 'vegetable blue' I found this reference. I have seen 'lulax'  few times and see that Mappae Clavicula as translated by Smith and Hawthorne has this note:


or does it...
perhaps it just means a certain color blue?
Smith and Hawthorn 55


Friday, April 6, 2018

'vergaut'? Blue and yellow make green!

The term 'vergaut' was introduced to me by Elena Wyth when she asked a question about mixing indigo and orpiment on Facebook. I hadn't come across it before, so I went to the books!

There seem to be many medieval instructions for mixing orpiment and indigo but few call it vergaut, as far as I can see. Read more below to see what a brief search helped me find.


chalk of eggshells

Book of Secrets














Sunday, March 18, 2018

sal ammoniac

Many of the recipes in medieval MS contain references to sal ammoniac. So, what is it anyway? The glossary in Merrifield's Medieval and Renaissance Treatises is helpful, once again!


Ammonium chloride, NH4Cl.