LAURIS PHILLIPS SUMI-E
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White Ibis / 2013

White Ibis / 2013

handmade raccoon brush 13 x 14 in

 

Small Whelk / 2014

Small Whelk / 2014

with handmade weasel brush, including silk border 13 x 9 in

 

Plicopurpura pansa 3 / 2009

Plicopurpura pansa 3 / 2009

with its own ink & handmade coyote brush, 9 x 14 in

a note on Plicopurpura pansa:

 The purple ink you see here is a natural dye secreted by a small sea snail named Plicopurpura pansa

 It lives in the high impact zones of tidal rocky areas of western Mexico and Central America.  It is thought that P. pansa uses this secretion, a neurotoxin, for defense and for disabling other snails before eating them.  It has been used for centuries by native Mexican dyers to color wool for weaving.  They gather the fluid by "milking the snail", which entails taking the critter from its rock at low tide, turning it upside-down and blowing on or poking the operculum until the snail gives up it's milk-like white fluid.  The snail is then put back on its rock, slightly traumatized, but fine. 

 I found P. pansa living in large numbers on the southwest coast of Baja.  My process of collecting the fluid was similar to the traditional dyers, but rather than pour it directly onto a skein of yarn, I poured it into a bottle and took it back to my temporary studio.  By the time I had hassled 100 or so snails, I had about 2 ounces of the "milk".  The fluid was light green by the time I painted with it, then changed to turquoise and finally the delicate purple that you see here, as it dried in the sunlight; a photo-oxidizing dye.

 Out of respect, I painted only "self-portraits" of Plicopurpura pansa with its precious ink. 

Hermit / 2012

Hermit / 2012

sumi & watercolor  27 x 14 in

 

Lotus 1, 2012

Lotus 1, 2012

with handmade weasel brush, 22 x 12 in

White Ibis / 2013

handmade raccoon brush 13 x 14 in

 

Small Whelk / 2014

with handmade weasel brush, including silk border 13 x 9 in

 

Plicopurpura pansa 3 / 2009

with its own ink & handmade coyote brush, 9 x 14 in

a note on Plicopurpura pansa:

 The purple ink you see here is a natural dye secreted by a small sea snail named Plicopurpura pansa

 It lives in the high impact zones of tidal rocky areas of western Mexico and Central America.  It is thought that P. pansa uses this secretion, a neurotoxin, for defense and for disabling other snails before eating them.  It has been used for centuries by native Mexican dyers to color wool for weaving.  They gather the fluid by "milking the snail", which entails taking the critter from its rock at low tide, turning it upside-down and blowing on or poking the operculum until the snail gives up it's milk-like white fluid.  The snail is then put back on its rock, slightly traumatized, but fine. 

 I found P. pansa living in large numbers on the southwest coast of Baja.  My process of collecting the fluid was similar to the traditional dyers, but rather than pour it directly onto a skein of yarn, I poured it into a bottle and took it back to my temporary studio.  By the time I had hassled 100 or so snails, I had about 2 ounces of the "milk".  The fluid was light green by the time I painted with it, then changed to turquoise and finally the delicate purple that you see here, as it dried in the sunlight; a photo-oxidizing dye.

 Out of respect, I painted only "self-portraits" of Plicopurpura pansa with its precious ink. 

Hermit / 2012

sumi & watercolor  27 x 14 in

 

Lotus 1, 2012

with handmade weasel brush, 22 x 12 in

White Ibis / 2013
Small Whelk / 2014
Plicopurpura pansa 3 / 2009
Hermit / 2012
Lotus 1, 2012