A Rembrandt drawing.
A Rembrandt drawing.

Ink store makes its mark on Nimbin

A STORE has opened in Nimbin that flies in the face of modern business forces - globalisation, corporatisation, mass production.

It is a small artists' supplies shop which along with brushes and papers specialises in a range of inks made using a family recipe dating from the 16th Century.

The shop is the brainchild of Suzanne Visser, an artist and co-proprietor of Choices Cafe next door.

She is Dutch and says the inks are the same as Rembrandt used in his drawings.

Ms Visser used to make the powders for the inks when she had a farm in the area but now they are provided by a family member in Belgium. She turns them into liquids.

A true entrepreneur, Ms Visser previously had a European-style tea room called The Secret at the site "with fussy little teapots and home-made cakes."

But serving sushi and tea in glasses was not in big demand in Nimbin.

So she ventured in another direction, starting small with the inks, paper and brushes.

And it seems there is a healthy market for such items.

"Up to now sales have been incredibly encouraging," Ms Visser said.

Just as the ink is hand-made and distinctive, so are some of the papers on her shelves.

"I have some very specialised papers here, which are hemp-based and were made in Kathmandu. They aren't allowed to be imported anymore so we will have to learn to make it ourselves."

The art shop will be the centre of a Friday night market planned for Nimbin, which will kick off this week, Ms Visser said.

"It will be an arts and crafts market mainly, though food will be available in the cafe.

"The idea is to brighten up this part of town, which can be a bit dead at night. We have artists coming from Bangalow and Byron Bay and we hope it grows, so that the bus companies start coming out in the evening."

Her inks will certainly brighten up some of the region's artworks.

"They are very lively colours; the line is very alive.

There are six basic colours, though being "a real hand-made product" means the blue, for example, can vary a little.

"You can mix them with water-based paints and acrylics and make an unbelievable range of colours."

Sounds like the perfect product for Nimbin, in fact.

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