Earlier this week I went on a day trip to Cranfield Colours the manufacturers of the lovely Caligo Safe Wash Ink. They are working on a new product and had asked Ian Phillips along for his input and I asked if I could tag along. Ian is a relief printmaker whose work can be seen here.
We were given a tour of the factory and explained the multiple processes that Cranfield go through to make ink. Starting with dry pigments the inks are mixed in giant food style mixers and then milled using traditional triple roll mills. Through the milling process, the pigments are broken down so that the colours are dispersed into the ink medium resulting in rich colours and the smooth inks.
Cranfield has been making inks for three generations. Michael Craine is the current MD and oversees the entire business – Cranfield also make commercial printing inks and Spectrum Artists paints. Angela Brown works alongside Michael in development of products. Angela is an ink chemist with the benefit of having an MA in printmaking so is passionate about the ink manufacture and understands the processes and demands put on any ink.
Caligo Safe Wash has been in production for 10 years. It is a groundbreaking product. An oil-based ink that is water washable, allowing studios to use beautiful, rich, oil-based inks with the benefit of being able to clean up using just soap and water.
Ian was trying out a new top-secret product (hopefully more to follow about that in the New Year).