ELLEN JONG

NEW WORK IN INK, 2015 - Present Continued anxiety around my identity, body and mortality are being re-examined using the traditional Chinese ink stick as a portal into personal, cultural, and future history. Starting with raw material and primitive and alchemic methods, I arrive at various stages of the ink material from liquid, drying into solid, and reverse, while making it over a steaming double boiler in my studio. I am motivated by its fundamental integrity to be water soluable which enables it to transform in state and shape, and to give color with the addition of water. I am able to manipulate the organic material using moisture and heat as if an extention of my own meat and memory, with sentiment, but nature will ultimately reveal the finality of each piece over time.

The Chinese ink stick is from my earliest memories; an "object," a smell, a routine, of home and a measure of values that exist in every cell of my body. It is also the point at which my ideas of self are conflicted, alienated and unresolved. 

To escape, and control, my pathological obsession "to transcend", I de/reconstruct the traditional ink stick into a multi-dimensional language I know. The material is alive and has the potential to bleed, liquify, crack and decay. The material speaks for itself.

All ink works are lightly treated for protection and recommended to keep cool, dry and out of direct sunlight.

Scroll left for more images. Click on an image for more info

 

fragile - 48.75 x 26.75 x 3in - Protein resin, pigment, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

fragile - 48.75 x 26.75 x 3in - Protein resin, pigment, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

love - 24.25 x 18.75 x 2.5 in - Protein resin, pigment, metal pins, archival inket print on fabric

love - 24.25 x 18.75 x 2.5 in - Protein resin, pigment, metal pins, archival inket print on fabric

safe - 19 x 15 x 2.5 in - Protein resin, pigment, metal pins, rice paper - submerged in water and dried

safe - 19 x 15 x 2.5 in - Protein resin, pigment, metal pins, rice paper - submerged in water and dried

fragile - 48.75 x 26.75 x 3in - Protein resin, pigment, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

fragile - 48.75 x 26.75 x 3in - Protein resin, pigment, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

love - 24.25 x 18.75 x 2.5 in - Protein resin, pigment, metal pins, archival inket print on fabric

love - 24.25 x 18.75 x 2.5 in - Protein resin, pigment, metal pins, archival inket print on fabric

safe - 19 x 15 x 2.5 in - Protein resin, pigment, metal pins, rice paper - submerged in water and dried

safe - 19 x 15 x 2.5 in - Protein resin, pigment, metal pins, rice paper - submerged in water and dried

  • 1

    fragile - 48.75 x 26.75 x 3in - Protein resin, pigment, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

  • 2

    love - 24.25 x 18.75 x 2.5 in - Protein resin, pigment, metal pins, archival inket print on fabric

  • 3

    safe - 19 x 15 x 2.5 in - Protein resin, pigment, metal pins, rice paper - submerged in water and dried

INK CAUTION TAPE RIBBON - In 2020 I commensed this body of work. I simulate caution tape using my "ink" material. First mixing pigments to differentiate the yellow and black. Then, pouring it into sheets, drying, cutting and using water and heat to fuse cut pieces back together alternating in color. The ink caution tape ribbon mimics a plastic but is actually organic. It urges for critical attention.

Selected words are traced using the ribbon in my own handwriting and paired with digital snippets of sunsets printed on fabric. Some have been intentionally altered with water and steam, but they all have the potential to turn over time. These juxtopositions are pushed to contemplate matters of the self, and the conditions that surround us.

Mirror Mirror - 32.5 x 25.25 x .75 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

Mirror Mirror - 32.5 x 25.25 x .75 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

Mirror Aqua Mirror - 32.5 x 25.25 x .75 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

Mirror Aqua Mirror - 32.5 x 25.25 x .75 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

Ever and Ever - 32.5 x 32.5 x 1 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

Ever and Ever - 32.5 x 32.5 x 1 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

Mirror Mirror - 32.5 x 25.25 x .75 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

Mirror Mirror - 32.5 x 25.25 x .75 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

Mirror Aqua Mirror - 32.5 x 25.25 x .75 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

Mirror Aqua Mirror - 32.5 x 25.25 x .75 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

Ever and Ever - 32.5 x 32.5 x 1 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

Ever and Ever - 32.5 x 32.5 x 1 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

Home - 32.5 x 32.5 x 1 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

Home - 32.5 x 32.5 x 1 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

Lemons - 35 x 25 x .75 in - Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

Lemons - 35 x 25 x .75 in - Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

Schmear - 48 x 35 x .5 in Unframed - Protein resin, archival inkjet print on fabric

Schmear - 48 x 35 x .5 in Unframed - Protein resin, archival inkjet print on fabric

Control - 35 x 25 x .25 in Unframed - Protein resin, archival inkjet print on fabric

Control - 35 x 25 x .25 in Unframed - Protein resin, archival inkjet print on fabric

Flawd - 35 x 24.5 x .75 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

Flawd - 35 x 24.5 x .75 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

Gawd - 35 x 24.5 x .75 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

Gawd - 35 x 24.5 x .75 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

  • 1

    Mirror Mirror - 32.5 x 25.25 x .75 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

  • 2

    Mirror Aqua Mirror - 32.5 x 25.25 x .75 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

  • 3

    Ever and Ever - 32.5 x 32.5 x 1 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

  • 4

    Home - 32.5 x 32.5 x 1 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

  • 5

    Lemons - 35 x 25 x .75 in - Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

  • 6

    Schmear - 48 x 35 x .5 in Unframed - Protein resin, archival inkjet print on fabric

  • 7

    Control - 35 x 25 x .25 in Unframed - Protein resin, archival inkjet print on fabric

  • 8

    Flawd - 35 x 24.5 x .75 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

  • 9

    Gawd - 35 x 24.5 x .75 in Unframed - Protein resin, metal pins, archival inkjet print on fabric

CHASING THE DRAGON - Making the ink material to create works requires heat, alchemy and time travel. I use small trays of foil to melt down ink pieces onto eachother over heat and steam which can leave a burnt residue. These are remnants of the process.

Foil remains - dimensions vary - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - dimensions vary - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 5.75 x 5.5 x 1.75 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 5.75 x 5.5 x 1.75 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 7.25 x 4 x 1.25 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 7.25 x 4 x 1.25 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 5.5 x 5.5 x 1.75 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 5.5 x 5.5 x 1.75 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 6 x 4 x 1.5 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 6 x 4 x 1.5 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 5..75 x 4.5 x 1.75 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 5..75 x 4.5 x 1.75 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 8 x 3.5 x 1.5 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 8 x 3.5 x 1.5 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - dimensions vary - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - dimensions vary - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 5.75 x 5.5 x 1.75 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 5.75 x 5.5 x 1.75 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 7.25 x 4 x 1.25 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 7.25 x 4 x 1.25 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 5.5 x 5.5 x 1.75 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 5.5 x 5.5 x 1.75 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 6 x 4 x 1.5 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 6 x 4 x 1.5 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 5..75 x 4.5 x 1.75 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 5..75 x 4.5 x 1.75 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 8 x 3.5 x 1.5 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 8 x 3.5 x 1.5 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 7.5 x 4 x 1.25 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 7.5 x 4 x 1.25 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 4.75 x 5.25 x 1.25 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 4.75 x 5.25 x 1.25 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 8 x 4.5 x 1.25 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 8 x 4.5 x 1.25 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 4 x 4 x 2 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 4 x 4 x 2 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 4 x 4 x 1.5 in - foil, burnt protein resin

Foil remains - 4 x 4 x 1.5 in - foil, burnt protein resin

  • 1

    Foil remains - dimensions vary - foil, burnt protein resin

  • 2

    Foil remains - 5.75 x 5.5 x 1.75 in - foil, burnt protein resin

  • 3

    Foil remains - 7.25 x 4 x 1.25 in - foil, burnt protein resin

  • 4

    Foil remains - 5.5 x 5.5 x 1.75 in - foil, burnt protein resin

  • 5

    Foil remains - 6 x 4 x 1.5 in - foil, burnt protein resin

  • 6

    Foil remains - 5..75 x 4.5 x 1.75 in - foil, burnt protein resin

  • 7

    Foil remains - 8 x 3.5 x 1.5 in - foil, burnt protein resin

  • 8

    Foil remains - 7.5 x 4 x 1.25 in - foil, burnt protein resin

  • 9

    Foil remains - 4.75 x 5.25 x 1.25 in - foil, burnt protein resin

  • 10

    Foil remains - 8 x 4.5 x 1.25 in - foil, burnt protein resin

  • 11

    Foil remains - 4 x 4 x 2 in - foil, burnt protein resin

  • 12

    Foil remains - 4 x 4 x 1.5 in - foil, burnt protein resin

GIRL IN A BOX - A series of capsules of my growing up in NYC, western and eastern influences that continue to shape me. The center of each composition presents an intimate (panty) made with handmade pigmented, cut, woven and patchworked "ink." Each intimate has a Chinese finger trap toy attached to the front that protrudes past the face of its box. I use language, art history, vernacular signifiers and dimension on traditional Chinese rice paper to express a complex, fluid and vulnerable self. Ragazza Moderna in Italian translates to Modern Girl. Click on the image to see the full translation of each piece.

Modern Girl, and Her Three Faces - 34.5 x 27 x 5.5 in - Protein resin, acrylic, ink, rice paper, chinese finger trap, custom plexi box

Modern Girl, and Her Three Faces - 34.5 x 27 x 5.5 in - Protein resin, acrylic, ink, rice paper, chinese finger trap, custom plexi box

Modern Girl, and Her Edge - 34.5 x 27 x 6.75 in - Protein resin, acrylic, ink, rice paper, chinese finger trap, custom plexi box

Modern Girl, and Her Edge - 34.5 x 27 x 6.75 in - Protein resin, acrylic, ink, rice paper, chinese finger trap, custom plexi box

Modern Girl, and Her Tricks - 34.5 x 27 x 7 in - Protein resin, acrylic, ink, rice paper, chinese finger trap, custom plexi box

Modern Girl, and Her Tricks - 34.5 x 27 x 7 in - Protein resin, acrylic, ink, rice paper, chinese finger trap, custom plexi box

Modern Girl, and Her Three Faces - 34.5 x 27 x 5.5 in - Protein resin, acrylic, ink, rice paper, chinese finger trap, custom plexi box

Modern Girl, and Her Three Faces - 34.5 x 27 x 5.5 in - Protein resin, acrylic, ink, rice paper, chinese finger trap, custom plexi box

Modern Girl, and Her Edge - 34.5 x 27 x 6.75 in - Protein resin, acrylic, ink, rice paper, chinese finger trap, custom plexi box

Modern Girl, and Her Edge - 34.5 x 27 x 6.75 in - Protein resin, acrylic, ink, rice paper, chinese finger trap, custom plexi box

Modern Girl, and Her Tricks - 34.5 x 27 x 7 in - Protein resin, acrylic, ink, rice paper, chinese finger trap, custom plexi box

Modern Girl, and Her Tricks - 34.5 x 27 x 7 in - Protein resin, acrylic, ink, rice paper, chinese finger trap, custom plexi box

Modern Girl, and Her Secrets - 34.5 x 27 x 6.25 in - Protein resin, acrylic, ink, rice paper, chinese finger trap, custom plexi box

Modern Girl, and Her Secrets - 34.5 x 27 x 6.25 in - Protein resin, acrylic, ink, rice paper, chinese finger trap, custom plexi box

Modern Girl, and Her Mirror - 34.5 x 27 x 5.3 in - Protein resin, acrylic, ink, rice paper, chinese finger trap, custom plexi box

Modern Girl, and Her Mirror - 34.5 x 27 x 5.3 in - Protein resin, acrylic, ink, rice paper, chinese finger trap, custom plexi box

  • 1

    Modern Girl, and Her Three Faces - 34.5 x 27 x 5.5 in - Protein resin, acrylic, ink, rice paper, chinese finger trap, custom plexi box

  • 2

    Modern Girl, and Her Edge - 34.5 x 27 x 6.75 in - Protein resin, acrylic, ink, rice paper, chinese finger trap, custom plexi box

  • 3

    Modern Girl, and Her Tricks - 34.5 x 27 x 7 in - Protein resin, acrylic, ink, rice paper, chinese finger trap, custom plexi box

  • 4

    Modern Girl, and Her Secrets - 34.5 x 27 x 6.25 in - Protein resin, acrylic, ink, rice paper, chinese finger trap, custom plexi box

  • 5

    Modern Girl, and Her Mirror - 34.5 x 27 x 5.3 in - Protein resin, acrylic, ink, rice paper, chinese finger trap, custom plexi box

MOTHER'S ROOT CHAKRA - 100% handmade "ink" intimates, some inset with "messages from my grandmother." The last image demonstrates that these will give color if wet.

I Know You - 34.5 x 21.5 x 4 in - Protein resin, monofilament lining, hardware, custom plexi box

I Know You - 34.5 x 21.5 x 4 in - Protein resin, monofilament lining, hardware, custom plexi box

word - 5.75 x 10.5 x .025 in - 100% pigmented protein resin - on a box pillow 

word - 5.75 x 10.5 x .025 in - 100% pigmented protein resin - on a box pillow 

don't lie - 5.5 x 11 x .025 in - 100% pigmented protein resin - on a box pillow

don't lie - 5.5 x 11 x .025 in - 100% pigmented protein resin - on a box pillow

I Know You - 34.5 x 21.5 x 4 in - Protein resin, monofilament lining, hardware, custom plexi box

I Know You - 34.5 x 21.5 x 4 in - Protein resin, monofilament lining, hardware, custom plexi box

word - 5.75 x 10.5 x .025 in - 100% pigmented protein resin - on a box pillow 

word - 5.75 x 10.5 x .025 in - 100% pigmented protein resin - on a box pillow 

don't lie - 5.5 x 11 x .025 in - 100% pigmented protein resin - on a box pillow

don't lie - 5.5 x 11 x .025 in - 100% pigmented protein resin - on a box pillow

beuys - 6 x 9 x .025 in - 100% pigmented protein resin - on a box pillow

beuys - 6 x 9 x .025 in - 100% pigmented protein resin - on a box pillow

A Hole Lot - 30.75 x 37 x 3 in - Protein resin, acrylic, rice paper

A Hole Lot - 30.75 x 37 x 3 in - Protein resin, acrylic, rice paper

Slay - a still from a video demonstration dipping an ink intimate into water to release its pigment on paper, revealing the word "SLAY"

Slay - a still from a video demonstration dipping an ink intimate into water to release its pigment on paper, revealing the word "SLAY"

  • 1

    I Know You - 34.5 x 21.5 x 4 in - Protein resin, monofilament lining, hardware, custom plexi box

  • 2

    word - 5.75 x 10.5 x .025 in - 100% pigmented protein resin - on a box pillow 

  • 3

    don't lie - 5.5 x 11 x .025 in - 100% pigmented protein resin - on a box pillow

  • 4

    beuys - 6 x 9 x .025 in - 100% pigmented protein resin - on a box pillow

  • 5

    A Hole Lot - 30.75 x 37 x 3 in - Protein resin, acrylic, rice paper

  • 6

    Slay - a still from a video demonstration dipping an ink intimate into water to release its pigment on paper, revealing the word "SLAY"

ETIQUETTA, SHE'S A BITCH - A custom gas powered cannon projects gelatinous ink 'flesh' slugs, 3 inches in diameter, to target and shoot at images of my own body parts. The process of rediscovering the traditional Chinese ink stick as my own involves stepping into it, deconstructing it, commanding it, and injecting all that the ink represents into me; history, heritage, roots, childhood, family, body, identity. It's messy, it hurts, it awakens, it forms. It's a time-based performance. 

Etiquetta, custom projectile ink cannon, with target on the wall - photographed for Artzealous.com 

Etiquetta, custom projectile ink cannon, with target on the wall - photographed for Artzealous.com 

Etiquetta, custom projectile ink cannon, target practice at ONTOPO Upstate NY

Etiquetta, custom projectile ink cannon, target practice at ONTOPO Upstate NY

Etiquetta, on view at Spring Break Art Fair NY

Etiquetta, on view at Spring Break Art Fair NY

Etiquetta, custom projectile ink cannon, with target on the wall - photographed for Artzealous.com 

Etiquetta, custom projectile ink cannon, with target on the wall - photographed for Artzealous.com 

Etiquetta, custom projectile ink cannon, target practice at ONTOPO Upstate NY

Etiquetta, custom projectile ink cannon, target practice at ONTOPO Upstate NY

Etiquetta, on view at Spring Break Art Fair NY

Etiquetta, on view at Spring Break Art Fair NY

  • 1

    Etiquetta, custom projectile ink cannon, with target on the wall - photographed for Artzealous.com 

  • 2

    Etiquetta, custom projectile ink cannon, target practice at ONTOPO Upstate NY

  • 3

    Etiquetta, on view at Spring Break Art Fair NY

On-going developments are underway using the ink material for a full life sized body cast. Cubed, (pictured below) is an ink cast of my frontal half folded into a box to dry. It is presented with the box in a box. Untitled, (pictured below) is a work in progress. In Ink, (pictured below) is a two part model of a heart organ cast in ink. It reads, In Blood, In Stone, In Ink.

Cubed, 2019 Protein resin, pigment, cardboard box, acrylic

Cubed, 2019 Protein resin, pigment, cardboard box, acrylic

Cubed - closeup, 2019 Protein resin, pigment, cardboard box, acrylic

Cubed - closeup, 2019 Protein resin, pigment, cardboard box, acrylic

In Ink, 2019 Protein resin, pigment, acrylic

In Ink, 2019 Protein resin, pigment, acrylic

Cubed, 2019 Protein resin, pigment, cardboard box, acrylic

Cubed, 2019 Protein resin, pigment, cardboard box, acrylic

Cubed - closeup, 2019 Protein resin, pigment, cardboard box, acrylic

Cubed - closeup, 2019 Protein resin, pigment, cardboard box, acrylic

In Ink, 2019 Protein resin, pigment, acrylic

In Ink, 2019 Protein resin, pigment, acrylic

  • 1

    Cubed, 2019 Protein resin, pigment, cardboard box, acrylic

  • 2

    Cubed - closeup, 2019 Protein resin, pigment, cardboard box, acrylic

  • 3

    In Ink, 2019 Protein resin, pigment, acrylic

First experiments in body casting in ink material. The images show different tests, with different accounts of shrinking, cracking and mold. I've added preservatives so later tests are stable but still organic. 

Observing samples of tests

Observing samples of tests

Molding in nature

Molding in nature

Installation

Installation

Untitled, set of ink legs semi-suspnde, 2019

Untitled, set of ink legs semi-suspnde, 2019

Untitled, set of ink legs on the wall, 2019

Untitled, set of ink legs on the wall, 2019

Observing samples of tests

Observing samples of tests

Molding in nature

Molding in nature

Installation

Installation

Untitled, set of ink legs semi-suspnde, 2019

Untitled, set of ink legs semi-suspnde, 2019

Untitled, set of ink legs on the wall, 2019

Untitled, set of ink legs on the wall, 2019

  • 1

    Observing samples of tests

  • 2

    Molding in nature

  • 3

    Installation

  • 4

    Untitled, set of ink legs semi-suspnde, 2019

  • 5

    Untitled, set of ink legs on the wall, 2019

In 2018, I visited one of the last Chinese ink stick factories in Huang Shan (Yellow Mountain) is a mountain region in China depicted in paintings for hundreds of years and home to the original makers of paper, brushes, ink stones and ink. Ink, while in larger quantities, is still hand-made and restricted to a few artisans that help keep the 'traditional' culture alive. Traditionally in stick or slab form, carvings of images and verses distinguish their origin, maker and quality. While I've had to adapt this method to suit my studio and accessible equipment, the process is the same. 

A factory tucked away in the mountains

A factory tucked away in the mountains

"Lamp black" is a pigment made by burning oil. The black residue is very fine, and the earliest pigment. This is a chamber for burning oil and collecting the fine grains of pigment to make ink.

"Lamp black" is a pigment made by burning oil. The black residue is very fine, and the earliest pigment. This is a chamber for burning oil and collecting the fine grains of pigment to make ink.

Mixing rooms are hot and covered in lamp black!

Mixing rooms are hot and covered in lamp black!

As the mixture cools, it is pounded by hand 

As the mixture cools, it is pounded by hand 

A factory tucked away in the mountains

A factory tucked away in the mountains

"Lamp black" is a pigment made by burning oil. The black residue is very fine, and the earliest pigment. This is a chamber for burning oil and collecting the fine grains of pigment to make ink.

"Lamp black" is a pigment made by burning oil. The black residue is very fine, and the earliest pigment. This is a chamber for burning oil and collecting the fine grains of pigment to make ink.

Mixing rooms are hot and covered in lamp black!

Mixing rooms are hot and covered in lamp black!

As the mixture cools, it is pounded by hand 

As the mixture cools, it is pounded by hand 

They are kept warm until the mixture is placed into a mold

They are kept warm until the mixture is placed into a mold

A young ink stick

A young ink stick

Many ink sticks are placed in molds that have carvings. After the ink is dried the carved details may be painted with gold and other color

Many ink sticks are placed in molds that have carvings. After the ink is dried the carved details may be painted with gold and other color

The highest quality ink sticks are dried for over 5+ years

The highest quality ink sticks are dried for over 5+ years

The highest quality ink sticks are dried for over 5+ years

The highest quality ink sticks are dried for over 5+ years

The highest quality ink sticks are dried for over 5+ years

The highest quality ink sticks are dried for over 5+ years

The highest quality ink sticks are dried for over 5+ years

The highest quality ink sticks are dried for over 5+ years

Ink sticks are ground on an ink stone with water until the water turns as black as you like. Most are no larger than your palm. This is a very large ink stone that has been intricately carved. The center flat area is where you grind. It slopes slightly into a well to collect the ink.

Ink sticks are ground on an ink stone with water until the water turns as black as you like. Most are no larger than your palm. This is a very large ink stone that has been intricately carved. The center flat area is where you grind. It slopes slightly into a well to collect the ink.

Some ink stick samples. The figurative forms are almost always of deities and godly figures. 

Some ink stick samples. The figurative forms are almost always of deities and godly figures. 

  • 1

    A factory tucked away in the mountains

  • 2

    "Lamp black" is a pigment made by burning oil. The black residue is very fine, and the earliest pigment. This is a chamber for burning oil and collecting the fine grains of pigment to make ink.

  • 3
  • 4

    Mixing rooms are hot and covered in lamp black!

  • 5

    As the mixture cools, it is pounded by hand 

  • 6

    They are kept warm until the mixture is placed into a mold

  • 7

    A young ink stick

  • 8

    Many ink sticks are placed in molds that have carvings. After the ink is dried the carved details may be painted with gold and other color

  • 9

    The highest quality ink sticks are dried for over 5+ years

  • 10

    The highest quality ink sticks are dried for over 5+ years

  • 11

    The highest quality ink sticks are dried for over 5+ years

  • 12

    The highest quality ink sticks are dried for over 5+ years

  • 13

    Ink sticks are ground on an ink stone with water until the water turns as black as you like. Most are no larger than your palm. This is a very large ink stone that has been intricately carved. The center flat area is where you grind. It slopes slightly into a well to collect the ink.

  • 14

    Some ink stick samples. The figurative forms are almost always of deities and godly figures. 

Ellen Jong © 2020