eliza collin

Gall ink is made from gall balls found in oak trees in Petralia Soprana. The gall ball is a genetic mutation caused by the wasp laying its eggs in the oak bud. You can harvest these and ferment them. Adding Iron Sulphate and Gum Arabic to the mix you create this thick black/blue ink.


The exciting and unusual characteristic of gall ink is that it eventually disintegrates, eating away at the material it is painted onto. Documents written during the middle ages are now becoming exquisite skeletons of what they used to depict. We still don’t know how long it takes for the ink to start to fall through the material in which it is written. Whether the cotton or the ink will disintegrate first it is hard to say but eventually one will go. I will date these pieces from the day in which it was printed and when It finally disappears I wish for the final date of disappearance to be written next to it.


The name Kalamos comes from the Greek tale of Kalamos and Karpos, a love between two youths. Karpos drowns whilst the two are having a swimming contest over the Meander River in south Turkey. In grief Kalamos allows himself also to drown, upon drowning he is then transformed into a water reed whose rustling in the wind was interpreted as a sigh of lamentation. In Sanskrit links can be found to this name referring to ‘reed’ and ‘pen’ and later evolving into ‘ink’ in Latin. This process of change and development in language and stories, interpretation and then re-interpretation inspires me.