Grinding Pigment From Rocks

A while back I think I posted that I was interested in exploring the use of local pigments in my ink. I probably said something like, “I am sure I can control myself and keep this from consuming too much of my time.” Well, if I did, I’m sorry. It is rapidly becoming a major focus for my work going forward and will likely be integral to the story behind my prints.

“Here are images of places that I’ve hiked, printed with rocks that I found while hiking and ground to a fine powder.”

But I get ahead of myself. First, I need to start with the basics. One “Art Night” at The Circle, our local coffee shop/wine bar, I brought a set of grinding tools and some rocks.

[Breaking rocks into smaller rocks]

A couple of us worked for about 4 hours, breaking the rocks up and powdering them. It was grueling work. One of the rocks, a serpentine that yielded a grayish green, was so hard that I would never use it again. The end result was gritty instead of powdery.

[Powdering the smaller rocks]

At the end of the night we had a pretty impressive set of pigment powders, especially considering that I just picked up these rocks on a hike in the park. There are many more steps to making an ink, but this is a good first step and very satisfying to see.

[Four types of stone and their pigment powders]

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