thanks for this refresher course!
----- Original Message -----
From: Jake Benson<mailto:jemiljan@...>
Sent: Monday, August 13, 2007 1:14 PM
Subject: [Marbling] Alum mordanting
Don Guyot wrote a two-part article in Ink & Gall:
Guyot, Don. A "Alum and its Use in Paper Marbling. Part 1. Historical
Material." Ink & Gall. Taos, NM: Fresh Ink Press, Vol. 1, No. 3,
Winter, 1987, pp. 6â?"7, 18.
---. A "Alum and its Use in Paper Marbling. Part 2. The Solution." Ink
& Gall. Taos, NM: Fresh Ink Press, Vol. 1, No. 4, Spring, 1988, pp.
In it, he suggested that the aluminum Sulfate bonds with Ox Gall and
creates a new molecule, Aluminum Glycholate (Sp? I'm writing this
from memory). This resulting compound is Ph neutral, and any sulfate
residuals can be rinsed away.
Here is an excellent article by Irene BrÃ¼ckle (Conservation Program,
State College at Buffalo) on alum sizing.
Dr. Timothy Barret (Iowa Center for the Book) has openly questioned
the tendency to dismiss alum. In a significant paper that he wrote on
the role of gelatin in paper permanence, he found that a small amount
of alum added to gelatin sizing helped preserve mechanical properties
after accelerated aging tests.
In the above article, Barrett cites in turn a study of traditional
glue and alum mixtures in Japan, known as "dosa". This was often used
to "waterproof" paper. While Barrett admits the levels were extremely
high, the aging tests showed sustained mechanical performance.
Alum has been added to sizings for centuries, but how much, and the
method varies a great deal, and can probably affect the resulting
quality. Mohamed Zakariya uses a lump of alum when making his Turkish
aher solution (beaten egg white external sizing). He beats the egg
with the lump, and then removes the lump when done. He is not adding
a powder to the mix. The little bit of alum imparted is enough to
render the paper waterproof for calligraphy.
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