Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Holidays!

We have had a crazy fall and early winter with warm weather and lots of shows! It is the day after Christmas and now we a looking to hibernate and finish some projects before the spring arrives. When spring arrives we will have a new addition to our family. We are so excited! So much preparation and things to do to get ready for! Check out some of our fall and winter projects! We will continue to update everyone as things progress!

Here is our homemade minorah made from a recycled pine 2x2 with drilled holes that was a garden post.
(Our fancy one is packed away)

Here is our baby tree that we got from the alley way behind the house. We used a Coffee filter as our tree skirt. We put special ornaments on there including: A Peachpit monkey & Porcelain Kitty from Kim Boggs, Macaroni given to us by Freddie Farraro for our wedding, a Glass Walnut from Kristen Smith, Patrick Costello, and Vicki Long, a friendship bracelet from Cat Stack, a bracelet from Grandma Dorothy, a Jingle shell, SandDollar and a Starfish Star.

We also Harvested some Celery, Kale, and a Napa Cabbage for some good Holiday eats

 Here are some of our fall adventures!

Homemade Owl Decoy

PVCC Faculty Show
Allyson and I both had works in the Galerie LJ Winter show... this is one of her new ones. We also sent three collaborative pieces!

Fricktoria's last shoulder photo opportunity before Momma M took her back to Wisconsin. Sadly, she was not as excited about Allyson's preggo belly as we are and had started to share her feelings pretty aggressively... we miss you Fricky!

Jeremy and I made this zine, "Lichen Ocean"to be released at Pictoplasma in NYC in November. It includes handdrawn, relief printed, silkscreened, and xeroxed pages and a silkscreened poster. Big props to J who pulled all of the prints since Ally couldn't do it with her belly! He pulled some 800 prints total! 
You can find the zine here if you want to buy one:

Jeremy's rad piece for "Let There Be Light" at PVCC!!!

October Garden

Jeremy is helping our friend Brian build an art car that will be a little boat. Here it is in-progress!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Hello everyone it is officially fall, and the rainy weather has kept us indoors more than we would like. But it is keeping us busy with dying fabric for a show in Gainsville in 2012. We turned over the summer garden last month to the fall garden. All of the fall plants were planted early enough, but we had a really bad hail storm which shredded up the plants and the cabbage worms are really bad this year. So we have been doing  some extensive harvesting of all of our Japanese Indigo (Polygonum Tinctorium) and Marigold for dying. We also planted some cover crop which is always a joy for fall and winter.  We are hoping first frost comes late this year so some plants can play catch up.

One of our big dying projects involved processing our Safflower that we harvested last summer. We had to buy some extra petals to supplement our small harvest. But it was truly a joy to see the fluorescent natural colors extracted from something that grew in your garden.

The Japanese Indigo we harvested was also very beautiful. You can see the electric range of blues we got. We had so much Indigo that we did not process all of it, but you can see the beautiful blue colors of the leaves as they dried.

We also have had the pleasure of seeing this volunteer gourd come to life. It came up on its own through the grass where we dumped our seeds last summer (when we made our anniversary gourd bird houses).

We found some a Polygonum variety of Japanese Indigo growing in the wild downtown through the cracks in the brick. We really believe that sustainable and non-toxic dying/artmaking are not exclusive to country dwellers.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Happy August! So we harvested our first batch of polygonum tinctorium sometimes referred to as japanese indigo on Monday. We processed it today and ended up with some exciting results. The silk seemed to turn the most blue from the recipe we used. The cotton turned more of a green blue. We are working on an embroidery project for a show in 2012 in Gainesville, FL. All of the fabrics and embroidery floss will make its way into our new sewn pieces. The wonderful thing about indigo is that it is less fugitive than other plant pigments. We anticipate making a second batch where we ferment the leaves (for a month) like traditional japanese processing. This is supposed to give a brilliant and light fast blue. So todays experiments are only the tip of the iceburg in seeing what our plants can do. The polygonum has been a pleasure to grow.  As you can see on our last blog post the flowers are so pretty and you can make a beautiful dye out of it.  Also we will get a second round of the japanese indigo as we have a second crop and the plants we trimmed are growing back already. It is truly a weed.  I am posting pics of an early sugar pumpkin and a honeydew that we crossed with a cantaloup (we call it "the honeydoo doo"). delicious! XO A&J

Saturday, July 23, 2011


This extreme heat is dictating our farming schedule. We wake up early to water and harvest and spray in the evenings.  We feel like trapped indoors like winter. We have some plants and crop really starting to thrive and other things that are dying off.  We love gardening because you see birth, death, growth, disease, insect habitats. It is like a mini ecosystem, and you can never predict what it is going to do. Here are some pics of our garden.  You can see the garden, cabbage, kraut, cherries, baby komquats, pumkins, dyers indigo flowers, drying flax in the garage. We are so excited to harvest the flax!  And  a pic of Matokie in his chair! XOXO A&J

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Something New!

New sign!
One of many new bottles of ink with our brand new logo designed by Jeremy!

Tonight we are launching our new company "Belly of Flea Inks and Paints"! We have been really busy this summer making ink and watercolor pans at home in preparation for our shop opening up! We have had so much fun doing this and we hope you will go and check it out! 

Our site: Information about the stuff we make and the materials we

Etsy: Our lil' shoppe!

Belly of Flea flickr: Pictures of our farm and pigment/ink/paint making in progress. (and the occasional cat picture...)

Here is the opening message from our etsy shop! 

Hello and welcome to Belly of Flea Inks & Paints, a historical artist ink and watercolor supplier, est. 2002. We are committed to producing sustainable and non-toxic professional grade artist water media. We use organically home grown pigments. We also use organic plant, insect, and genuine earthen and mineral pigments to help fill in the gaps of what we cannot grow in the Belly of Flea mini-farm. We are dedicated to making safe art supplies that have little impact on the earth. 

Marie Antoinette's favorite shade of reddish brown fabric was christened "Puce" the French word for flea. The name stuck and dyers soon offered hues called, "Belly of Flea", "Thigh of Flea", and "Blushing Flea". When we first started making inks, some of our very first colors were various browns including, oak gall, walnut, and pokeberry. The name seemed fitting. Belly of Flea is run by the husband and wife team, Jeremy Seth Taylor and Allyson Mellberg Taylor. We are working artists, gardeners, and teachers based in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Red Ochre, Lemon Yellow Ochre, Maya Indigo Blue, & Green Earth Handmade Watercolor Halfpans!

Jeremy's Awesome Logo & Package Design in action!

Lots of halfpans!

Shiny brand new watercolor cake drying!