What a revival of activity! I had stopped checking the site.
Jake, regarding adjusting the strength of your alumned sheets:
Since oxidizing seems to weaken the power of alum, could leaving your
sheets exposed to light and air reduce their impact to your bath?
That and doing a series of stone patterns which are not combed, come
to mind as a save. I suspected newsprint ink contamination added to
problems I had this summer but never really knew. I finally decided
it was cumulative contamination, with hot weather accelerating
bacteria growth and drought's low water levels pushing up the
contaminants in the ground water. I resurfaced my trays where I
thought residual bacteria might be lurking, knock wood everything
works again. I also stopped using photo-flo and the colors seem more
stable. Thanks again to all of you who tried to help.
Donna, in describing your problems on your huge fabric marbling tray,
are you skimming well before you lay your colors down? I use
semi-transparent colors because the hand of the silk is important to
me, but in my experience opaque colors contain more surfactant and
spread far more, never stopping at a mere 1" stone. Pro-Chem's fabric
marbling colors are transparent and ready to use. In the event they
need help spreading there is a pro surfactant which is compatible with
them, much weaker than Kodak photo-flo. Make a clear ink with about
17 drops per ounce of distilled water(vs. 3-4 of photo-flo). Is the
bath much colder than the room temp? This could also cause colors to
sink. Pro Chem's suggested metyl cel formula is 3.5 Tb per gallon.
Best to all,