I am writing this in spurts in Ireland. So much happens in so many variations. As mentioned in my last blog, I was fortunate to take a workshop in Sligo with Kari Cahill, an artist that uses foraged materials to make natural pigments. The learning curve on what Kari explained was severe. I only had a glimpse into her world and know that she is a purist on this subject. The colors she arrives at are layered and strategic. She understands the complexity and chemistry of her colors. Her approach is scientific as she keeps copious notes, samples, and sequencing processes. I took the information Kari provided, and for one week prior to my Cill Rialaig residency, rented a small cottage near Ballingskelligs Beach, Co. Kerry, Ireland to produce the pigments. The cottage had a good functioning kitchen (my improvised lab), access to natural materials (my sources and future art supplies), and a space that could be turned into a small studio (dining table). I learned so much very quickly about how to boil plant material and how long, how to add extenders to make the colors bond to the surface. A lot of give and take over an intense week of work. When the time was over, I had approximately 14 glass bottles of pigments. Some were intense and some were subtle and watery. This time period was only about making color. It also raised many questions to be asked later. As I packed up the materials (lots of zip-locked bags of plant material) and the sundry basic equipment, I felt confident that I had something to work with for the real creative time period coming up at Cill Rialaig.

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