DRIED PIGMENTS


I make a lot of guacamole and eat a lot of avocado toast so I keep a big bag of leftover pits + skins in my freezer. Dyeing with avocados creates beautiful shades of pink on cloth and the leftover dye bath can be rendered down into dried pigment for paint. 

If working with a cold dye bath, dissolve ingredients in a small amount of boiling water first.

1. Scoop out 1L (about 4 cups) hot dye liquid and add to a tall vessel.
2. Add 10G/L of aluminum potassium sulfate to dye and gently stir until well dissolved.
3. Carefully add 5G/L of soda ash (it might bubble a bit) and gently stir well.
4. Allow to sit undisturbed for at least an hour. The color will settle to the bottom.
5. Fit a paper coffee filter in a mesh sieve and place this over a large bowl. Slowly pour off the liquid into the bowl without disturbing the pigment that has settled at the bottom. 
6. Gently pour the pigment into the coffee filter and allow to drain.
7. Rinse with fresh water by pouring two cups over the pigment. 
8. Allow to drain and dry. This will take a few days (at least).
9. Once fully dried, store as is or grind into powder.
10. To make paint, grind about a teaspoon of powder until very, very fine in a mortar and pestle (wear a mask). Pour onto a smooth, flat surface, add 1-2 droppers of distilled or boiled water, and mix with a palette knife. Add about a teaspoon of gum arabic a few drops at a time, and mix until smooth. To fully break down the pigment and incorporate the ingredients, use a glass muller.

Learn more in my spring workshop series at the Provincetown Art Association + Museum!