Plants are reliant on sunlight for their existence. The sun determines their life cycle.

Sunlight informs a plant to germinate, when to grow and ultimately,  when to die off ready for its dormant period in the winter.  When the spring arrives, warmer sunlight stimulates the plant to begin all over again.

So perhaps its hardly surprising  when botanical inks  are made from plants, the sunlight still seems to have control of it’s new life as an ink.  These ephemeral botanical inks appear intense in colour initially and then lose intensity in the sunlight. The natural  colour palette  fades as though dying’ before our very eyes!

To test this phenomenon,  I conducted an experiment using a beautiful orange/yellow botanical ink made from  the flowers of Crocosmia. One half of the circle was covered with blackout paper leaving the other half exposed.  The samples were left on a windowsill where intense summer sunlight would fall on them for most of the day. The samples were checked after 10 days on the windowsill.


One sample used neat Crocosmia ink.

The second sample a mordant was used – bicarbonate of soda.

The mordant clearly reduced the fading as compared to the neat ink sample.

Note: I am currently testing how 99% UV resistant glass performs to reduce fading.