Calligraphy: Make Your Own Ink & Quill Pen
The simplest way to make your own ink is to take the black creosote from a lamp (or fireplace, etc), mix it with a bit of honey and add a drop of water at a time until it becomes easy to use with a pen.
Another good way is to take black walnuts, pound them out, and then boil them with water in a cast-iron frying pan. The longer you boil them the blacker the ink. Allow to cool and strain the liquid through cheese-cloth into a jar. The walnut juice will be very watery, so to add consistency you can measure out as much juice as you need for your current project and add drops of Gum Arabic (found in local art stores) until it flows well off your pen but isn’t gummy. Keep the rest of the walnut juice in a jar with a lid in your fridge. It won’t go mouldy because it’s too acidic. **Note: PLEASE label your jar.
SAFETY TIPS: Only boil the walnuts in a well-ventilated area, and any utensils (including the frying pan/pot) should NEVER be used for food purposes again!
NB: You can also use black walnuts to dye wool, and no mordants are needed. The easiest way is to layer wool and black walnut leaves (and crushed nuts if you have them) in a pot with a lid, cover, and leave for a week. The tannin from the leaves will seep into the open wool fibres.
You can use any large feather for this, although goose feathers are traditional. I found a nice Canada Goose quill at my local park…
I don’t think I could write a better how-to than the Regia Anglorum site, so here’s the link:
If you don’t feel like making your own, or cannot find feathers try John Neal Booksellers:
John Neal Bookseller