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4479Re: [Marbling] Re: Chemical names for Tiger Eye ingredients.

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    Jan 6, 2008
      Dear Lokman,
      There is very little available information about Tiger eye and Schroetel patterns. Nedim Sonmez has listed three recipes for Tiger eye in his book Ebru, The Turkish Art of Marbling (1992) and his resource was A. Weichelt's Buntpapier Fabrication, Verlag der PapierZeitung (1927). I have tested two of these along with the recipe of Fichtenberg (1854), which is the method I prefer, and guidelines are on my webpage http://www.marblersapprentice.com/Formulapage.htm . A description of the necessary chemicals are listed on the Supplies page of my website. The recipes are very imprecise, but I think that that is because there are so many variables in marbling, particularly from one marbler to another. I view the recipes as starting points. The most important part of Tiger eye is that the potassium/alum compounds form the eyes and the rays; the gall or creolin (which I don't advise using because your house will smell for days afterwards) is for the expansion of the eyes, and this must be carefully adjusted. In addition, there must be sufficient resistance from the size and the other paints put on earlier to resist the gall in the tiger eye droplets - otherwise the eyes break up. The tension between the expansion of the gall and the resistance of the size is what makes the pattern. I think that this was less of a problem in 1850 because the size was tragacanth which resists the spread of paints much more than carragheenan. I have seen many examples of poorly executed Tiger eye from the later 19th century, but perhaps it is because of the change to carragheenan. Another point I have discovered is that the Tiger eye paint must be thick - almost a paste (as I explain on my web page).
      Karli Frigge makes a Tiger eye using Potash (potassium carbonate) and I have also been successful with this. Although these "eyes" tend to be a little pale, the recipe would be a good one to start with, since it is the least complicated, safest and uses liquid paint. She advises to take about 50 ml of marbling paint and add to this a small amount of potash (she says a "pea sized amount"), then adjust with gall (and additional potash depending upon the results). Once mixed, the paints do not last long - a day of two, so don't make up much at one time.

      Schroetel pattern is more of a problem. Although it seems to me to have been a more common pattern than Tiger eye, recipes are fewer. There seems to be two versions of Schroetel. In one, the last paint put on spreads widely and breaks up into fragments. This is Fichtenberg's style from 1854. I have been able to replicate this, but it is not an attractive pattern. The other, more typical pattern, seems to have many small droplets applied onto the completed spot pattern, none of which spread very much and create the multiple small eyes appearance. I have not been able to find a recipe for this, and am still trying to work this out. Again, I think that a concentrated paint is needed to give the dark, concentrated centers, and some potassium chemical to cause the clear space around the drop to develop, but not too much - otherwise a Tiger eye results. It is possible that Karli Frigge's recipe with less potash might work, but a dilute paint does not give the dark, concentrated centers.

      I hope this explanation is of some assistance. I'll be happy to answer any other questions, as I am able.

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: lokmantorun
      To: Marbling@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Sunday, January 06, 2008 5:41 AM
      Subject: [Marbling] Re: Chemical names for Tiger Eye ingredients.

      Hi Garrett,
      Could you please explain the formulas of the materials for Tiger
      eyes & Schroetel patterns and explanations how to create these
      patterns or provide the links for them?

      --- In Marbling@yahoogroups.com, "G. Dixon" <gdixon@...> wrote:
      > The term Potash refers to a number of potassium compounds. Common
      potash, or potassium carbonate [K2CO3] is what is most commonly
      known as "potash" and it is relatively non-toxic and safe to use.
      Caustic potash is potassium hydroxide [KOH], and I have found it to
      be the best potassium compound for making Tiger eye pattern (and
      Schroetel as well as some other 19th century patterns based on
      chemical additives). This chemical, however, is equivalent to lye
      in its potency and must be used with care. Soda is sodium
      carbonate, also known as sal soda or washing soda (and in slightly
      more concentrated form known as soda ash). This is commonly
      available, particularly from dye sources (used with Procion dyes),
      and it is moderately caustic. Lime water is a solution of calcium
      hydroxide in water. This can be made by making a solution of common
      garden lime (predominantly calcium hydroxide which is also
      moderately caustic) and water (it dissolves quite poorly so about a
      teaspoonful in 100 ml water will be adequate enough and most will
      still sit on the bottom of the jar). Red American Potash is
      potassium ferricyanide [K3Fe(CN)6]. It sounds dangerous, but it is
      much safer to work with than potassium hydroxide. Fichtenberg
      recommends this as an alternative to KOH for Schroetel pattern. I
      have tried it, but have not yet worked out the measurements for
      making the pattern and have had better success with caustic potash
      [KOH]. I have not had success with it for Tiger Eye pattern. These
      are most of the chemicals used in making Tiger Eye. Creolin (a
      creosote-based soap) is also used in Hartmann's formula, but I don't
      recommend this. It is foul smelling (and hazardous to health), has
      to be boiled (which makes it more volatile), and is too potent a
      dispersant for easy use on carrageen size.
      > There are three problems in obtaining good Tiger eye patterns:
      the proper proportion of chemicals, creating sufficient surface
      tension on the size, and care of papers when lifted off the size. I
      have published on my website several formulas for Tiger eye, most
      using my own paints, but one that I have done using Windsor & Newton
      Lamp Black Gouache (www.marblersapprentice.com) which could serve as
      a starting point. Carrageen size has a low surface tension and this
      makes it difficult to control the pattern (Tiger eye was usually
      done on tragacanth or psyllium sizes which resist spread of paints
      much more than carrageen). Even a little extra gall in the paint
      can result in breaking up of the central eyes. You can increase the
      surface tension of the size or you can make sure enough other colors
      have been laid down first to resist the spread of the tiger eyes
      (but you have to test and adjust your eye mixture in the same way on
      the other thrown colors).
      > Finally, these patterns were originally made on the other sizes
      mentioned and it was not typical to rinse the papers. Rinsing will
      wash away the eyes. Just take the papers off the size and allow to
      > As with most of the patterns that use chemical additives
      (Stormont, Shell, Schroetel, Broken and others), Tiger Eye requires
      a lot more patience, testing, and precision in mixing materials
      before throwing the paints down than other patterns, but it can be
      accomplished. I always had to laugh when after spending a year
      struggling to work out the formulae for Tiger Eye, I turned my
      attention to Schroetel pattern. Every time I threw the paints down
      these great tiger eyes would appear - they just weren't what I
      > Garrett Dixon
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: sixshort
      > To: Marbling@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Friday, June 17, 2005 9:47 AM
      > Subject: [Marbling] Chemical names for Tiger Eye ingredients.
      > Please - can anyone who has knowledge of recognised chemical
      terms, or
      > better still, their chemical makeup such as KCO3 etc., let me
      > what is meant by the following terms. I want to make "Tiger
      Eye" or
      > "Sunspot" patterns, but the Australian pharmacists just shake
      > heads and produce long list of possibilities.
      > Potash
      > Soda
      > Limewater
      > Red American Potash
      > Potassium Carbonate
      > I have four recipes for Tiger Eye, but the directions for making
      > using the solutions are vague, to put it mildly. Help! Help me
      > Rhonda . . or Jake, or Ruth, or John or . . . ..
      > from a confused marbler, Joan Ajala
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