The hearts of more than twenty conkers were shelled and finely grated. Native American Indians in the 1890s would sprinkle this material into streams in order to attract and knock out fish; a practice alluded to in Michael Ondaatje’s book Divisadero (p 139). When warmed in a pan of water from the river however, it makes a cloudy white ’emulsion’ which has the properties of a liquid soap. On testing, I found it very good for removing stains in fabric and I am considering its usefulness in place of shop bought detergents and as a creative agent.
The chestnut sediments slowly settle to the bottom of the pan and the clearer solution on top can be retained as a means (in theory) of adding a pale blue colour to linen. So far I have produced ‘Esztergom Lemon’ (Esztergom Citromsárga) from a tree in grounds of the Basilica.