Saturday, September 1, 2007

pokeberry ink

Audrey came in yesterday afternoon looking for the feather quill that came with her souvenir Declaration of Independence, then again, complaining that it only could write one letter...she was outside experimenting with her own pokeberry ink! I found my fountain pens, and suggested paper rather than writing on the swing set (!?) and we spent a delightful hour together.


sallyavena said...

Pokeberries...oh the possibilities. Where our lovely forest (Sophia's description) was, we now have a pokeberry forrest. The other day Sophia came up with pokeberry peanutbutter and convinced Jakob to help her make it so she could give the birds a treat. You would have appreciated the wonderful feast set out on leaf dishes they came up with.

I love the little turtle and butterfly! As soon as the new computer comes that allows me to see more than one picture every 2 minutes (your blog is the only one I'll wait for), I have plans to check out that site. Looking for new ideas.

Anonymous said...

Pokeberries are very common in my area. i have made ink several different times. Every time they smelled horribly after a few days. I am now trying to get rid of the smell using vinegar.

vfg said...

Yeah, my ink got all moldy...I'm wondering about adding some of the preservative/diluent I mix one of my my daughter's medicines with. It worked like a charm for snowglobes :). Let me know how it goes...

Inkman said...

Please be aware that almost all parts of the Pokeberry (AKA Polk Berry, Polk Salad, Polk Sallat, Inkberry, Ombu, etc.) are poisonous to people so watch children so that they don't eat the berries, but they do make a great ink. The Declaration of Independence was written in fermented Pokeberry ink ( ), and many letters written during the Civil War in Pokeberry ink are still quite legible today. The ink will fade to a purplish brown with time.

For anyone interested in making their own ink, I'd recommend Evan Lindquist's page at for information on ancient and historical inks with recipes and formulas, although unfortunately they do not address Pokeberry ink.

For a variety of fountain pens and inks check out

Sample ink colors can be seen at (cut and paste to make a single line) and

For Spencerian writing and Ornamental Penmanship, check out

Best Wishes, Inkman