|Posted on September 14, 2011 at 1:35 AM|
One of the projects I have embarked on this summer is to make a pottery stain from Beeweed (Cleome serrulata). This is the most common material used for the black paint in the traditional Anasazi black on white pottery. Mineral paints were also used but the beeweed works better and was the most commonly used prehistorically (at least in Southern Utah).
Rocky Mountain Beeweed (Cleome serrulata) is a horribly stinky plant that smells remotely liked overcooked spinach, especially when processed and boiled for a paint stain. It is sometimes refered to as "stinkweed" for this reason.
A very large patch of Beeweed was flowering in Skull Valley and Jon and I left a few minutes early from work in order to gather a box full for me to process into a paint stain.
The process of turning Beeweed into a paint stain is rather simple; it really is just boiling down the plant material until it resembles the consistensy of mollasis. It can dry out more for storage purposes and you can add a little water to make it more paint-like whe in use. Beeweed is also an edible plant - sometimes called wild spinach -- and the dried paint can be eaten in emergency situations.
The process is to simply boil down the flowers and stems into a thick brown liquid.
Beeweed is also edible. When cooking it smells like spinach.
Once the liquid has cooked down it needs to dry out. Iallowed the liquid to fully dry for preservation because I was not anticipatingusing it for a few months. However, the best consistency for paint isthat of molasses.