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Thursday, November 1, 2012

POKE (root, berry & ink!)

Pokeroot was one of our first tangles. It was inspired by a pokeroot plant growing in a vacant lot across from our home. Pokeroot is an unusual name for us to use for a tangle because it is named for what inspired its pattern. We usually choose names that don't create a preconception of how a tangle should look.

John Nordell, CZT, was "poking" around recently and he recorded his results in this blog entry on his CreateLookEnjoy blog. Here's his video from that entry:

John also admonishes, "If you find yourself inspired to mash and draw, please keep in mind that the Pokeweed berries are toxic." 

In preparing this blog, I came upon some interesting pokeroot/pokeweed factoids:
  • Over time pokeberry ink turns from purple to tan. You can see this in the Declaration of Independence which Thomas Jefferson wrote using pokeberry ink.
  • Letters written with feather quills in pokeberry ink by Civil War soldiers are still legible.
  • Supporters of U.S. President James Polk wore pokeweed twigs during his campaign. Similar sounding "Polk" and "poke" are sometimes used interchangeably in reference to this fascinating plant.
Here's some "tangling" music for when you tangle pokeroot.

We invite you to visit John's blog entry to read his full story and to leave a comment.

Click links and enjoy!


Carole Ohl said...

It's fun to see how inspiration happens and how so many things can connect to it. John did a great job showing that. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

This was a lovely way to end a hard week of grading. The Poke was to fun, and brought me back to my roots, that there are many things that will make marks! Polk Salad was to fun! Nice write up! and so true. Many thanks to you both. I want to know when the next Master Class will be held, as I am so in, and it looks like you had a lovely time. Thanks for making my day.

Elsie Hickey Wilson said...

Back in the early 1900's my grandmother, Annie Feasler Guerin, used to make poke berry ink for her children to take to school to write with. My mother said they were always told never to put any of it in their mouth! But, she remembered writing with it. My mother grew up in Ganister, Blair co. Pennsylvania, and went to a little one-room mountain school.

Elsie Hickey Wilson

judie said...

I've had poke salad, prepared by country friends in N.Carolina. You cook it like spinach, with bacon grease. It's yummy. Don't eat the berries or the stalk. Have always liked this song. Never heard of this guy. He kinda looks like Elvis.