5072Re: [Marbling] more marbling and handmade paper
- Mar 5, 2009Hi Tom... you are so right on many comments here. I don't want to skimp on paper costs especially, if Arches works, not sure I have tried it recently... I do know customers hem and haw and I have lost some due to rising prices, and the marbling is still cheap in my humble opinion.
I do not think sulphite paper is necessarily a "bad" paper either, and lost my darned test strips for PH, but am hunting and sifting. The Natur text, though buffered, worked for a long time, now they don't for marbling. They did up the amount of CC a little in the last batch and it is apparently enough to put it over the edge. They said they would do a whole run of papers but buffered less. Before I go plunking down in the five figures, which I can't really afford at this point anyway, I thought, as you say Tom, what if there is another variable and it still doesn't work, I am out a fortune. So I declined, though it was very nice of them to offer, they are good folks.
There are degrees of CC just as there are degrees of acidity. The public has been led to believe anything under PH7 is BAD BAD BAD and will crumble next year. Ruin all it touches. I plan to for the moment, use the sulphite while looking for something at least a little classier, and neutral or acid free is fine, as long as there is not so much CC or anything else, that will negate the marbling. I can easily deacidify too and just raise the price a little too if it comes to that, or offer as a service. There's some acid on the marbled side no matter what you begin with so those who really do want acid free have had to do it all along anyway in most cases where alum, ox gall or whatever is used in teeny amounts, and some remains after rinsing. The backing side does remain acid free and maybe that's enough for most.
Just give me a paper that works! LOL! I am losing my mind! Is there some sort of way to get Arches in bulk cartons for less? I tried with Strathmore years ago, that charcoal paper and they refused. I think the only way is to become a distributor/reseller on a grand scale or some don't want to know about you. Then there is the fear that they give you samples from old stock and the new stuff they ship doesn't work, I have had this happen three times and I am stuck with thousands of sheets. One the Classic Linen, which works fairly decently now after a few years. Still, it rips off the line due to shorter fibers.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, March 05, 2009 6:01 AM
Subject: [Marbling] more marbling and handmade paper
It goes without saying that we're all a little crazy or we wouldn't be at
this website in the first place. That's what I love about us!
I've been following this stream trying to figure out where to wade in, and
now it seems to have become a raging river. I will touch on as many points that
have been brought up as I can, and hope to contribute something useful.
Thanks to Melinda and Oz for pulling me into the water! But where to begin?
First I have to state my belief that there is no such thing as "good" or
"bad" paper. There are only more or less appropriate uses for any given piece of
paper. And that includes handmade papers. All papers are not created equal.
Having said that, I realize I won't be able to avoid speaking in
generalities, and you will have to take everything I say with a grain of salt. One has to
test this all for oneself. What happens in your own studio is between you
and the universe. The very fact that any of us can marble at all seems to, at
times, defy logic, no?
A little background: I've been making paper since 1978 and marbling since
1986. Like Iris and a lot of you, I've tried many different art forms: painting,
welding, bronze casting, glass blowing, woodworking, musical instrument
building. Also just about every form of printmaking there is, from potato
printing to huge commercial offset, and that includes 30 years of letterpress
printing. I honestly can't say how many sheets of paper that I've made or where
they have all gone. I gave up counting at around 10,000 sheets, and that was
in the mid-80's. As it is, I only have a small stack of my own paper right
now. I've also collected handmade papers from all over the world, and traveled a
bit to learn how they are made made. In a lot of ways, I came to the book
arts as a refugee from the rest of the art scene.
I think where this conversation started was the matter of calcium carbonate
in papers. This has come up to the group before and I will agree that many
commercial papers that are buffered with it just "don't work" for marbling. But
I add plenty of calcium carbonate to my own papers and they still marble
just fine. I don't think it's ONLY the calcium that it is the problem. It's how
it is combined with other chemistry and processes. (Is that vague enough?!)
I also have experience with mills changing formulae and having a paper that
marbled just great suddenly become useless. That happened with Strathmore 500
charcoal papers in the 90's. (I fully realize that some of you might be
using that now and not having any problems with it - that's just the nature of
marbling. What works for one artist might not work for another.) Presently my
paper of choice for marbling is Arches Text. It comes in both laid and wove
and white and cream. For me, it marbles like a dream. And guess what. It's
I don't go through the huge amount of paper that Iris does, but I do buy 50
- 100 sheets at a time every couple of months. I have to ask the question of
why is it so important to save a little money on a sheet of paper? Doesn't
that just cheapen what we are offering? If the cost of everything else keeps
going up, why can't or shouldn't our cost be passed on too? If I have to pay
even a dollar more for a sheet of paper, then I'll charge a dollar more for it
after it's marbled. Commercial printers are notorious for cutting their our
throats by underbidding a job, and I hate to see marblers doing it too. I know
the argument that re-sellers won't buy the papers if the price goes up, but
I think that creates the expectation that marbled papers need to be cheap.
And they shouldn't be. Not all marbled papers are created equal either.
Sure, some might be worth five dollars a sheet, but some are worth five hundred.
I don't know how to tackle the subject of marblers making their own paper. I
would suggest that if you are just getting started, read everything you can
find about handmade paper. Start with Dard Hunter. If you aren't overwhelmed
by the complexities and varieties of papermaking after reading him, proceed
with caution. It is true that you can have fun and get started in your kitchen
with inexpensive equipment, but the costs will escalate dramatically as you
get more serious. And speaking of getting serious, you should seriously take
up yoga and learn how to lift and bend properly. (Did I mention I've also had
2 back surgeries?) And before you take on any big commissions, make sure you
can, and really do, want to make a couple thousand identical sheets. There
is a good reason why a "good" sheet of handmade paper (18 x 24 inches or so)
costs 5 - 10 dollars a sheet. If you think that is too much then you don't
If you are going to make paper for other people, find out how it is to be
used. A paper that is used to wrap bookboards will be different than a paper
used for endsheets, which will be different than paper that will be printed on.
And if it is to be printed on, a paper used for letterpress will be
different from a paper for litho, which will be different than a paper used for
silkscreen, which will be different for a paper used for calligraphy, which will
be different than a paper used for watercolor, which will be different than a
paper used for....
But if you are making paper only for yourself, then you can experiment and
learn all this on your own time and own dime. And if you live long enough and
don't break you back it will really make for an interesting life. And you meet
a lot of great people!
Well, It's getting late, and I'd like to get some sleep before going off to
my other job. Good luck!
**************Need a job? Find employment help in your area.
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