Getting Ready to Steal Crabapple Blossoms, with Jason Logan

Illustration—Florence Rivest

Jason Logan works primarily as a graphic designer and creative director, but he is increasingly best-known for his main passion: making ink. For years, the Toronto-based artist has been street-foraging materials for his homemade dyes and pigments. Logan will use almost anything found in the urban wild — flowers, bark, nuts, berries, scrap metal, moss, and lichen — to elicit rich colours and deep tones in his home kitchen. 

Through his Toronto Ink Company, Logan sells ink tests and sends inks to artists around the world. Working with collaborator Lauren Kolyn, he published Make Ink: A Forager’s Guide to Natural Inkmaking in 2018. (Learn a basic recipe for DIY ink-making in this article by Kolyn for our Atelier section.) Next year, the well-known Canadian film producer Ron Mann will release a feature-length documentary about Logan’s work and the history of ink making. The Colour of Ink explores the ink-making practices and artistry of tattooists, calligraphers, painters, and artisans. 

One evening when his kids had gone to sleep and the dog was curled up in the corner,  Jason responded to our questionnaire just before heading out into the night to steal crabapple blossoms that he’d spotted earlier that day. 

Your most cherished childhood memory of being in nature. 
Walking the railway track from Harrowsmith to Sydenham in Ontario: collecting fossils, noticing the Queen Anne’s lace and chicory, and eating the sour-sweet fox grapes with my mother.

Your best story about the woods, or your most uncomfortable outdoor experience. 
Wandering the forests of the Malibu Hills to collect char from the wildfires there and picking up poison oak dust, which totally made my skin crazy.

The place where you are happiest. 
Alone in my studio, my spirit merging with the mixings inside the glass bottles.

An issue you are concerned about in your neighbourhood, your city, or your country. 
Collective effervescence and places to spontaneously dance.

A photographer or a visual artist who inspires you.  
Andy Goldsworthy.

A project you are currently working on. 
Making white ink with Carrara marble dust collected by Marta Abbott for the great Islamic calligrapher Soraya Syed.

Your secret talent at the cottage or on a camping trip. 
Baking cornbread in a rock oven.

Your craftsperson alter ego makes what? 

What aspect of nature captures your attention the most? 
Its changingness.

Your next DIY project. 
Cherry blossom ink.

Which possible green future would you be most excited about? 
The one that prioritizes bikes.

What is your most revolutionary conviction? 
That making your own art supplies is a revolution.

What outdoor skills are you working on? 
Getting lost.

What step are you working up the courage to take? 
The saying-no-to-financial-security-that-I-do-not-believe-in step.

In which little corner of the natural world are you most invested? 
The urban wilds.

What are you trying to protect? 
Childlike delight.

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