Nature's Hues - Exhibition

Nature’s Hues: Inkmaking in Book History and Book Arts

Exhibition August 4 - September 4, 2021

Exhibition remains on view in Maxwell Hall.

Curated by Patricia Ingham and Elizabeth Hebbard with Kayla Lunt, Rebecca Lippens, and Madeline Keyser.

For much of the history of writing, the reliance on natural materials for the creation of ink has been a convenience, an ideal, a constraint, and often a necessity. Some natural inks have been in continuous use for millennia, and the use of these ancient inks persists alongside texts inscribed with them, some of which are nearly as old. In the modern world, natural inkmaking is no longer a necessity, but instead a process of artistry, experimentation, and refined craft that engages both a sense of color and a sense of chemistry. Natural inkmaking also connects the book arts to annual cycles of growth, pruning, and harvesting; thoughtful and sustainable cultivation; and a purposeful attention to indigenous species and biomes.

The Book Lab continues to explore natural inkmaking and maintains a garden devoted to growing native and historically-significant plants for producing inks.

Page through the exhibition catalogue below to learn more about Nature's Hues and to find a recipe for your own natural ink.