MULLER

The Test

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After playing with the mineral, plant and insect pigments from the Sacred Valley region of Peru, it was time for me to find, forage or fix my own natural sources.

Though the resulting watercolor set was as lively as any painter could hope for, the restrained palette in my studio these days urged me to see what I could coax into being, firsthand.

 
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Above: Surprising “chocolate rose” color from avocados, Below: Acorn tips + rust = a silvery grey ink

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After several weeks of deep internet dives plus a plethora of ink, dye and foraging books, the good news was that much of what I needed could easily be found in our kitchen, backyard or surrounding neighborhood. The bad? Well, it hurts my head and heart to imagine how I could have missed the obvious inclination to craft my own inks and paints?

I created Batch as a portal for exploring other ecosystems and cultures in hopes of discovering some new and weird things about their connection to my own life / body / planet. And I am proud of the work that I’ve produced over these last couple years — especially after decades of a stagnating personal practice — and I can clearly see my trajectory ascending… There is much to be grateful for.

So what took so long?

Above: Copper + vinegar + salt + oxygen + time

 

 

As I commit to a life of intention, one that treads lightly upon the Earth and chooses not to harm any creatures in the process, I’ve begun pulling on the proverbial string that Muir so eloquently reminds us, is tied to everything else in the Universe.

Over the last couple years, I have repeatedly challenged myself by asking “What’s enough"?” and “Why not now?” This has brought a clarity into my practice, making it ever more apparent that I am engaged in a very ‘journey vs destination’ pursuit.

For me, the acts of attention and tending, often the nature of deconstruction, are paramount to the act of making.

Crafting and curating my own materials — ink, paint, paper — is not only in service of the art but, in many ways, is the art. A proposition that shone so brightly, the very elegance of it’s simplicity was too bright to recognize.

With this newfound awareness, I quiet my mind. I am eternally reminded that Mother Nature said it first and said it best. Humble AF.

My job now is to listen, with diligence, and share, with generosity, all that I am learning…

 

 
 
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Sacred Color

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After communing in the desert with the joyous Jyl Marie (of The Yoga of Chocolate) during the magical Mujeres Milagros “Women in Chocolate” retreat, I was delighted to receive several unexpected gifts from her over the course of the following months.

One delivery in particular held a string of tiny bags filled with what I assumed were some type of ground pigments?

Indeed, mineral, plant and insect pigments (sorry, bugs, I’m going to assume you had already passed) — found and foraged — around the Sacred Valley region of Peru.

 
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{ Above: Same pigment before & after grinding }

Unbeknownst to me at the time — but apparently not to Jyl’s fully cultivated, super senses — this inevitable set of vibrant pigments would provide the impetus for making my very own inks and paints.

 
 
 

 

These days, I walk about with pseudo-science books in hand and a renewed fascination for all things Mother Nature. You have my permission to imagine me as a middle school chemistry nerd with a dash of tomb raider.

My fully cultivated sense of curiosity and perseverance (thanks, cacao!) intact, I’m slowly working on batches of ink and paints inspired by, and of, the land upon which I roam.

As always, stay tuned for test Batch updates as my art studio is transformed via all things alchemy…

 

 
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