Inky Thots: Birmingham Slag Grey

Blue-green-grey Birmingham Slag Grey ink is named in honor
of the Homestead Steelworks, built in 1881.
It became part of the Carnegie Steel company in 1883.
For many years was the largest steelworks in the world.

Remember that others review these inks just for writing;
I am also interested in how they are used for ink-painting!
Also, this review shows the older version of Slag Grey ink at the bottom, and here.

I adore the new Slag Grey!

Properties of with Birmingham Slag Grey ink:

It is a well behaved ink which
dries relatively quickly. It feathers slightly on Post-its, and in my Hahnemühle Nostalgie journal when my dip pen drops a blob! But not on watercolor paper, above, nor when used with stub nibs. When scrubbed, top, it showed quite a lot water resistant, and further test sketches in my journals show it to leave a good imprint of water resistant ink lines when the waterbrush moves the color.  It has no sheen that I could produce, and is not a strong shader with my 1.1 stub nib, but when painting it separates so I consider this a complex ink color.

Above you can see the pretty blue that pulls out of the dark writing ink.
The paper towel test shows how many colors lay beneath the grey.
When the edge is touched with water it moves easily
into dark blue, blue-greens, and a green-yellow.
Looking at watercolor comparisons, I offer these colors:

*Above, watercolors, from Daniel Smith, QoR, and Senelier.*

MOST water soluble ink companies do not pay attention to lightfast qualities
and Birmingham is no different in this line of inks.
Most artists who use ink are making prints of their work —
But ink-painting is becoming more interesting so maybe it is time!

I drew the Homestead Steelworks on my test page with a dip pen —
a rather poor dip pen and so it tends to splotch out —
on cold press watercolor paper and touched the lines with water using a Pentel Aquash waterbrush.  This was a 30 minute sketch with water movement…
The lines stay slightly visible but also release ink; which means some water resistance.

Notice how blue-grey the lower image appears, versus the green-grey of the
top swatch or the grey in the pussy-willows, below.  This is the same Slag Grey
under the same lighting (smooth versus textured paper),
and shows the range of color in this ink.

Slag Grey linework and ink-painting with a touch of yellow watercolor, below;
you can see slight feathering on the lowest catkin where my dip pen blobbed.

 I like what Birmingham says on their website:
We started Birmingham Pen Co. in 2012 in
the Southside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The region of Pittsburgh where we began once  called “Little Birmingham” due to the area’s prolific manufacturing industry in the early 1900’s. The Birmingham moniker was derived from Birmingham, UK – a manufacturing hub that specialized in, among other things, pen and nib manufacturing with thousands of craftspeople employed in the industry. 
We chose the name Birmingham Pen Company  to share this little known piece of history and continue in the traditions behind the name.”

Birmingham’s bottles are glass, and functional
even in the small sizes.  I like glass bottles;
they feel like they will last longer.

Birmingham also turns their own pens,
which I’ve noticed often sell out as fast as they make them!
*I LOVE my Model-A Demonstrator, Violet Beauregarde!*

This is a small family business run by four people!  The brothers, Nick and Josh;
Dad is the chief pen machinist;  and Mom does one of the coolest things about Birmingham, which is their amazing historic names!

Disclosure, I was gifted with this sample ink from Birmingham.

New Slag Grey, below…

Old formula, below….

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About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
This entry was posted in art journal, creativity, drawing, ink painting, journal, painting, pen & ink, process, review, sketchbook, watercolor, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Inky Thots: Birmingham Slag Grey

  1. lois says:

    Glad to hear you were gifted, Katie. You do so many reviews, listing the good and the not so good, so I hope they recognize what a great publicist you are for a great product.


  2. Pingback: Inky Thots: Birmingham Independence Grey | D.Katie Powell Art

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