Sorry to disappoint you, but when I mention Alcohol Inks (AI), it’s all about art, and absolutely nothing to do with drinking alcohol! Of course, when you’re working with AI, it doesn’t hurt to have a wee dram of something comforting, but it’s certainly not mandatory, as these inks are so much fun!
Alcohol Inks are tiny little bottles of sheer, saturated colour! I’ve used them on various non-porous surfaces (after all, that’s what they were designed for), in resin, polymer and epoxy clays (both before and after the product cures). My all time favourite slick surface, is ceramic tile, but they can also be used on marble, various metals, glass, hard plastic, game pieces, old CD’s, washers and Yupo paper (a synthetic polypropylene paper with a slick surface). I’ve cut open pop cans (a.k.a., soda cans), and used the inside surface. I admit that I haven’t tried transparencies yet, but I see no reason why it wouldn’t work. I’ve even heard of people adding a coat of gesso to artist canvas, and then using the inks on those surfaces. Glossy photo paper is also an option (but falls in the trial and error category), but another that I haven’t tried. I’ve heard that some people, actually use the back of the paper, and that not all papers are equal. Who knew?
There are two main brands on the market, one from Ranger called Adirondack, and the Jacquard Pinata colours. If that’s not enough, you can supplement your inks, with a whole slew of markers (and re-inkers for some of them) including Copic, Spectrum Noir, Prismacolour, and even the lowly Sharpie. I know that there are more out there, but none that I’ve seen locally!
Now what does this have to do with jewellery and art, you say? I may be prejudiced, but quite a lot, I think. Although these inks are fast drying, and definitely have a mind of their own, they allow you to work at various levels of expertise, and on many different surfaces. At an introductory level, they provide a quick colour fix, make you look like an expert, and are very easy to use! Add paper collage &/or embellishments, and you have a mini-piece-of-art (for example, an altered domino, or mini-tile). At a more advanced level, harnessing the ink properties, presents more of a challenge. You might consider adding markers (including permanent ones), resists, paintbrushes, other paints/resin/ink, canned air, etc., to add more depth to your work. Add chain, leather, bead weaving or stringing, and your Altered Dominos, metal and glass pendants, are suitable for art jewellery pieces. Work in a larger format, and you have art to frame! There are plenty of resources for AI aficionados! BeadFX classes, You-Tube and Facebook are only a few. I warn you, that the inks are pretty stinky, so make sure that you take the necessary safety precautions. Work in a well-ventilated room, and if necessary (especially if you have breathing difficulties), make sure that you use a respirator! As the inks are not U.V. resistant, you will need to add a spray or two, to keep them from fading over time. But that being said, try not to spill them, or get them on your hands. I dare you!
I love my Alcohol Inks, and I also love addicting (err, teaching) others how to use them! There’s nothing else that compares, to that quick jolt of colour!! Abstract or representational, it doesn’t really matter….you’re making art, relieving your stress, and enjoying the heck out of yourself, along the way!!!