Metal Modifiers

Metals, Plant Dyes & Lake Pigments

Metals can be used to ‘sadden’ or alter batches of lake pigment. Iron solutions create darkened and in some cases rich deep brown and black pigments. Copper can be used to add a green leaning to a hue.

Tannins extracted from plants and reacted with iron create deep black insoluble pigments known as gallo-tannins. Notable species of plants that can be found in Britain that contain high concentrations of tannins in their the timber, bark or plant galls are oak, ash and sumac. (amongst many others)

Shades of oak gall ink created from knapper galls and iron sulphate solution, to 18th century recipes.

 Oak gall ink being mixed with a muller on a glass plate. 

A selection of different oak gall varieties collected in London, U.K. 2021-23

More information can be found in August 2023's issue of The Edge, a publication by The Calligraphy and Lettering Arts Society.