This is my second Autumn season printing with mushrooms, and last year I made a bit of ink from some Glistening Inkcaps I foraged. I have used it on and off all year, and it’s a lovely earthy blackish-sepia colour. When I revisited my sites this year I gathered another couple of crops. Then I hit the motherload when I found a massive clump of Common Inkcaps, which are about 4 times the size!
Glistening Inkcaps (Coprinellus micaceus) and Common Inkcaps (Coprinopsis atramentaria)
Obviously I make spore prints with them, but once they start to mature they begin to liquefy from the edge of the cap, inwards, until after a couple of days they’re a sloppy black mess. Last year I only took firm, young specimens but now I’m taking ones that are past it, and making lots of lovely ink.
Common Inkcaps on paper
You can see from the image of the caps above that the edges are beginning to turn inky, and the print below was made by caps even more liquefied. The centre gills are still capable of making a spore print (the paler, grey parts in the middle), but the outer gills just stick to the paper, and make rather interesting shapes.
An example of a sloppy print
Anyway, I process the caps, straining, and condensing it over a week or so, until it reaches the desired consistency. It is something of a smelly job, but it’s well worth it for the beautiful quality of the ink.
A drawing I did of Magpie Inkcaps (Coprinopsis picacea) and a bottle, each, of Common and Glistening Ink
I’m hoping to get a couple of people’s opinions of how they find drawing with it, and might have enough to sell a few little bottles. I know that it keeps well for at least 12 months, but can’t imagine using as much as I’ve made in a year!
All Images © Lou Bliss 2015