2.07.2010

Rare Ink

There are lots of unique folks up here in the AK.  But perhaps none more so than Diana Tillion.  Known mostly for her pioneering use of octopus ink in her paintings, she was also a writer, teacher, and an active community leader.  She died a few days ago. You should read the ADN article about her. As a friend of mine put it, "That might be the best obituary I ever read."

I met her once in 2007 on a trip to Homer.  I wrote about that trip and included a snippet of our conversation:
    Diana: I'm surprised the art community hasn't embraced octopus ink more; I wish more artists would use it.
    Me: Is it expensive?
    Diana: Yes.
    Me: Is it hard to get?
    Diana: Yes.
    Me: (Thinking, "That explains it.") Um...
    Diana: But you don't even have to kill the octopus. You can remove the ink with a hypodermic needle.
    Me: Do you catch them yourself?
    Diana: Yes.
    Me: Are they hard to catch?
    Diana: Yes.
    Me: Is it hard to extract the ink?
    Diana: Yes.
    Me: Um, well, maybe all of those reasons are why more people don't use it.
    Diana: Yeah, and I'm kind of crazy.
    Me: Well, you do live in Halibut Cove and paint with octopus ink...
    Diana: (smiles and laughs) Yeah. 

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