Inkberry Bush Ink

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I planted an inkberry bush in my yard because I love the name, and it is a native plant.   Inkberry bushes have been around the East End of Long Island for centuries.   A gardening friend told me colonists used them for making ink – and that the Declaration of Independence was written using this ink, which is also  called “pokeberry ink.” Looking at the berries, at this point I can’t tell if the ink would be black, or a purplish-black.   I would love to try to make my own ink.

If anyone could point me towards a good recipe for making ink from inkberries I would much appreciate it.   I know some weavers make dyes from natural ingredients, but I don’t know if the process for making dye is the same thing as making ink.

7 thoughts on “Inkberry Bush Ink

  1. The inkberry bush is different from poke, a wild weed that has clusters of dark purple berries at the end of stalks. Probably the berries on your bush will make a good ink like pokeberries would. Might be fun to make both inks to see how different they would be. My poke patch hasn’t come back this year – or else the deer have eaten the shoots. I’ll have to go looking for some. I like to cook it up in spring before the shoots become poisonous. It makes a great tonic. If I can find one, I’ll try doing ink out of the berries and will post pics. Won’t be till late summer though. Happy inking!

  2. Thank you, everyone, for all your help and advice! I really appreciate it! Sometime in the future I’ll post some photos of making and writing with homemade ink. Of course, I hope no one from J. Herbin catches on to me! Thanks so much again.

  3. I don’t know the first thing about making ink from berries, but I would be willing to bet that you will need to use it with a dip pen….I can’t imagine trying to get the right flow to use it in a fountain pen. A dip pen will be much more forgiving. I would say as a test, just grab some berries, remove the skins if you can, and crush them up into an ink-like state!

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