Cowboy Coffee

In the West, there is a long-standing tradition of “cowboy coffee” making.  Any time you are out in wilderness or elsewhere, caught without the comforts of home, you can make cowboy coffee by boiling water and coffee grounds together over a campfire.  When you are ready to drink it, you can TRY to strain it with a pan’s lid or some other device, or you can just pour away.  The trick is to let the grounds settle to the bottom your cup before drinking and whatever you do, don’t drink the dregs!

I’ve made cowboy coffee more than a few times in my life and apparently, it makes a pretty decent edible dye too!  I had some wood ash (the “campfire” part) and tried dyeing with it alone.  It was horrible, the pieces came out blotchy and weird.

So then, after talking to Michael Carroll, I resolved to use that ash successfully.  I combined the ash with coffee grounds, mortar-and-pestled it into a paste, and voila!  A pretty decent black emerged:

Yes, a friend threw it into the air at the beach, but I did have to Photoshop the edges a bit for this photo.
Yes, a friend threw it into the air at the beach, but I did have to Photoshop the edges a bit for this photo.
Detail.
Detail.
Cowboy coffee meets arashi.
Cowboy coffee meets arashi.

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Brett Barker

Brett Barker is a painter, textile artist, art/design instructor, and writer whose career spans more than 25 years. Originally from New Mexico, she now resides in Redondo Beach, California. She has taught fine art, artistic design, and textile design to numerous individuals, art guilds, and organizations throughout the U.S. She has a Master’s Degree in Art Education from the University of Nebraska. Her artwork sells throughout the U.S. and is available on her website, www.artistbrettbarker.com. She is currently undertaking a year-long investigation of Japanese shibori dyeing that will culminate in a trip to Japan to study under a master shibori artist in September of 2016. Her shibori blog can be found at www.peaceloveshibori.com. Her surface and textile designs can be found at www.brettbarkerdesign.com.

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