September 3, 2013

Find Your Artist, Find Your Ink

Blueberries harvested in July  from the Harrison Studio in AAC 's Chairmen's Gallery
Blueberries harvested in July from the Harrison Studio in AAC ‘s Chairmen’s Gallery

Blueberry ink is delicious…or so I’ve been told by an experimental artist who we’ve invited to lead a hands-on ink and printmaking workshop here at AAC. You may not think about the ink in your ballpoint pen or on the pages of your favorite book, but printing and printmaking are inherently inventive, constantly seeking and surpassing the limits of the medium. So, this month in conjunction with the GREEN ACRES public programs, DC-based artist Anthony Dihle has agreed to share his method for experimental ink-making from natural materials like Kool-Aid and instant coffee.

On Saturday, September 14, you’ll have the chance to learn his secrets in the Silkscreen with Found Inks workshop. First, Dihle will discuss his recipes and techniques, which will be a primer for the guided experimentation session to follow. In this session participants will experiment to make inks of their own devising. Then, these freshly prepared, all-natural inks will be used to complete screen-prints designed by Dihle for this workshop.

Dihle has also generously allowed us to offer AAC participants a sneak-peek of the workshop by sharing a blog post on how he prepared for a similar previous workshop. Read more from Anthony’s blog below:


Burnt toast in mortar being ground into ink - image courtesy of Anthony Dihle
Burnt toast in mortar being ground into ink – image courtesy of Anthony Dihle

Having taken a crash-course in ink making at Pyramid Atlantic some weeks before, I knew the basics of pigment-collection and stabilization, but ended up doing a number of experiments prior to the class. Some materials worked surprisingly well, others were utter failures…

…I boiled down a few pounds of spinach juice, which turned brown-black after being exposed to air for a couple days. I had difficulty concentrating tea and kool-aid enough to produce a true ink from it. However, instant coffee makes a very warm, solid tone. Not archival due to its acid content, of course. Boiled-down blueberries make a great violet hue, which turns bluer as it dries and has great transparency…


In addition to design and illustration work, Dihle has created posters for recording artists like The Shins and Jay Z. He now brings his expertise and unconventional techniques to AAC for a one-day Silkscreen with Found Inks workshop. Exploring the union of art and agriculture, Dihle’s class will highlight the use of alternative media for art making.

Spinach leaves being boiled for ink making -image courtesy of Anthony Dihle
Spinach leaves being boiled for ink making – image courtesy of Anthony Dihle

Participants will discover exciting ways to use readily-available organic materials outside of the kitchen. So, if you like to play with your food, or just experiment with it, visit Dihle’s blog to learn more about his work or you can even check out his place, Fire Studio on Georgia Ave at Pleasant Plains Workshop. Remember, space for this class is limited so register for the Found Inks workshop today!

 -AAC wishes to extend many thanks to Anthony Dihle for allowing us to use his blog material and photo.

The GREEN ACRES exhibition is made possible by an Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award. The Exhibition Award program was founded in 1998 to honor Emily Hall Tremaine. It rewards innovation and experimentation among curators by supporting thematic exhibitions that challenge audiences and expand the boundaries of contemporary art. Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award

Golden: Fifty Years of New Classics

UPCOMING: Opens June 15, 2024

Curated by Al Miner

Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington is proud to present Golden: Fifty Years of New Classics, an exhibition celebrating the organization’s 50th anniversary.

Summer Camp Registration

June 17 – August 16

Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington offers a wonderful and wide range of creative summer camps for your creative students! Camps are offered for kids starting at age 5 and up to teens ages 18.

Zaq Landsberg: Reclining Liberty

August 5, 2023 - July 28, 2024

Front Lawn
MoCA Arlington and Arlington Public Art are thrilled to co-sponsor the installation of Zaq Landsberg’s celebrated Reclining Liberty on the Museum’s front lawn.