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Marbling Handmade Paper

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  • papermimi
    The bath had been sitting as long as those whisks, and that was after two days marling. I m beginning to love old bath. Offlist a member asked me to share
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 4, 2004
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      The bath had been sitting as long as those whisks, and that was after
      two days' marling. I'm beginning to love old bath. Offlist a member
      asked me to share my experience test marbling handmade paper. I
      thought some others might be interested as well.

      At my studio, we make paper. Why? Because we can't get what we
      really need/want any other way.

      We cook our bast fibre.
      We beat our fibre into pulp. . . in a hollander beater
      We vat our own pulp
      We couche our own sheets
      We press in the 35,000 LB press
      We dry between blotters

      From beginning to end, we work our own process, control our end
      results. . . . by hand. Gampi and Kozo, of course, are our fibres of
      choice.
      From the same pulped batch, I tested today. Following is the
      analysis.

      Decided to first marble a pressed sheet of cotton/abaca (the first
      sheet I attempted a few days ago was a "not" sheet). Conclusion is
      that cotton/abaca does not like to be marbled, mordant or not.
      Pressed or not.

      On to the gampi/abaca blend. It was sized in-vat with a minimum
      amount of an AKD. I was expecting some problems. . .applied mordant -
      dried the sheet -- applied watercolor inks to the aged bath -- oooh!
      they floated, they spread, great! But wait, what's that? Something
      that looks like Sunspots? How'd that happen? The old bath? The
      alcohol? Old inks? (they're only a few weeks old). I expected the
      inks to slither away upon liftoff. . . they didn't. The paper had
      good wet-strength, the color was pastel, but nonetheless distinctive
      marbling.

      Dropped Prussian, Indigo, Cobalt Blue onto bath. Sunspots again!
      Whoopee! Layed another sheet, this one no mordant. . . just to see
      what would happen. To my horror, it began soaking liquid like crazy,
      I waited for it to sink, it didn't. I expected it to disentigrate
      like tissue paper upon liftoff, it didn't . . although it was quite,
      quite soft and had to be handled gingerly. I could see from the back
      that it had taken the ink, but i'd not seen another paper do that, so
      I expected pale, bleeding ink. What happened next was amazing. . .
      well at least to me. The ink seemed to remain on the surface and at
      the same time penetrated the paper. From the back can be seen
      veining. Crisp, sharp imprint on the front. . . and with true
      color. . . . i.e. the Prussian is prussian, Indigo is indigo, only
      the cobalt grayed.

      Conclusion: Overall, quite successful. Better than I could have
      imagined from what I've seen/experienced thus far. I conclude that
      the mordant on these "sized" handmades somehow lighten the inks but
      on the other hand, enhance the wet-strength of the paper. Just can't
      have it both ways. Mordant/paper/ink -- variables, that mordant is an
      enigma.

      To me, this is so exciting, as most reports of marbling on handmade
      paper have not been favorable. Marbling on handmade paper can never
      be smooth, because handmade paper is not smooth because handprepared
      pulp is not smooth, there will always be shreds of fibres in the
      pulp; therefore, there will always be some degree of uneven print.
      Nonetheless, my result today is promising. A great process for those
      who are fond of textural results.

      Pamela
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