I have been collecting some of the last Elderberries from the hedgerows. I wanted to capture them before they were gone. The weather has really taken a turn with many wet days. We have had some heavy showers and windy days which have blown the leaves and berries off their branches. The blackberries are over, red berries seem to be scattered over the ground and everything has started to change colour. Today I picked some blackened rosehips, still many bright red ones but this is how they will all soon end up looking once the cold and the first frosts arrive. The nights are getting chilly we are sitting cosy with a fire. So this is how it started with a bowl of dark glossy bunches of elderberries from the hedgerows.
I love the colour of the tiny elderberries and as they stain your fingers you see their rich purple colour. I remember my Dad making wine, we collected bags full that year, such tiny berries and when he squashed them there was so little and it seemed to me So much effort for so little return.
I started a little drawing in ink and a fine dip in pen. I didn't sketch it , just dipped in my pen and made this drawing by observing the details. I mixed my berry colour and used the brown for the stalks, using acrylic inks. Then I made my own elderflower ink. It all began when Claire left her comment.
After a lovely comment from Claire telling me she had made some ink with Blackberries and she thought I would enjoy doing it, my mind was thinking up lots of ideas. I would try making some ink with the Elderberries.
I squashed, cooked, sieved and made my ink, just a little from all those elderberries. It worked beautifully, see the writing on the pages behind , all done with my elderberry ink. My mind cannot stop there...Now what if I tried to dye a piece of fabric with it too, I had seen the gorgeous colour as I sieved it through a piece of loose weave fabric.
There was no stopping me now, off I went collecting more elderberries and I had such fun experimenting with this. Now I am no expert, I just added lots of salt and heated up the berries and then squashed the berries and added the cotton fabric. It felt really exciting as I saw my fabric soaking up the juices.
I then wound some threads to try too, some white cotton and linen thread.
Pink stained fingers and nails, lots of washing up and mess. I dangled pieces of dyed fabric and threads from the fireplace to dry and was eagerly waiting to see the results of my experiments. I will make a little sewing project and make something with it, I have some ideas. Unable to stop there I have been playing with other berries, some interesting results. I will stitch the lovely coloured fabric with the dyed cotton and linen, all from my elderberries. It felt so creative. Very inspiring and exciting to make something with them.
I kept a lovely branch of elderberries to draw in my square book, a little curled leaf and the berries.
I spent a lot of time drawing and carefully painting this one in my square book. I still have not completed the red berries I am doing but put this first.
I loved how it turned out. Drawing, ink, fabric and thread from the same berries which I picked from my village hedgerows.