Alcohol in paints &c.
- Alcohol reduces the surface tension of the solution, allowing not only
better pigment dipersion, but also I think it works with the gall (in
watercolor marbling) to make the surfactant attach to the pigment particles,
and get better spreading results.
We tend to use Ox Gall in alcohol. Contemporary Turkish "Ebru"doesn't
prepare their gall that way, as I think I've posted earlier, as well as
color with no binder. I think that is one reason why you see a grainer
color in contemporary ebru. I say contemporary, becaue I feel that there
are an enormous number of presumptions made in Istanbul today stemming from
certain 19th century particularities, that I don't think truly reflect
earlier historical practice. The Tertib Risale-i Ebri mentions many, many
materials that are no longer used by today's Ebruculer.
In watercolor marbling, I find there is a difference when using isopropanol
"rubbing alcohol" and denatured ethanol. I prefer ethanol. It is less
toxic, and smells WAY better. CVS sells 70% ethanol in 1 pint bottles.
that's what I use. A higher percentage will can cause a reaction between
the water and ethanol at first. Water is phobic of pure ethanol, and you
have to wait for the 2 to settle down, and comingle . If you use the 70%,
that's less of a problem. I wish CVS sold it in the large bottles as they
do the isopropanol.
Acrylics- different ball game. I think adding alcohol works in a similar
way, to break surface tension, but feel it acts more on the acrylic polymer
binder, which can do all sorts of funny stuff if it's sat for a while. I
think you should use a good acrylic, such as Golden, or ProChem marbling
colors. If anyone else sells a line, I don't know about it (Hey Iris! do
you sell any?) as I don't use acrylics really anymore, been 8 years or
Heat setting is used to bond the soft paint layer to the fabric, effectively
aging and crosslinking the paint layer to the fabric support. It'll do it
by itself in time, but you can't go thowing the fabric right into the wash
without doing it first. I recall throwing them in the dryer for while to
set them, before washing.
Thoretically, there should be no difference between a Fabric marbling paint
and an acrylic paint, though there may be additives to color for use on silk
thatmay halp to overcome the layer of sericin coating present on the selk
fibers. That's why it's recommended to wash in caustic soda, rinse well,
dry, and press prior to mordanting.
Enough for now... back to work!
- Yes Jake, I do sell fabric/paper marbling acrylics. Check the web at:
www.marblingpaper.50megs.com for the complete listings
My acrylics seem very pricey, but they go a long way, in fact for use on
paper I need to dilute them with at least an equal amount of water or they
are too intense. As an extra surprise I have found when I work on paper
with them (though I generally don't because the more traditional look is my
thing) in this way, and do not use "excess" paint, I do not need to alum or
rinse on almost every type of paper I have tried. I do not guarantee this,
as a marbler can squirt on too much and it can run.
The reason my acrylics seem so pricey is because store bought acrylics are
essentially a colored acrylic base. Mine are very high in very high grade,
therefore expensive, pigments, and I use as little acrylic base as
possible. This was keeping fabric marbling in mind because too much acrylic
base can stiffen fabrics. Also, being proportionally way higher in pigment,
small drops are all that is necessary. I only use Phot-flo to adjust them,
if necessary. Usually I only need to figure out whorder to lay them down
I started making both types of paints over 15 years ago because I do a lot
of productio work where I have to match hundereds of the same papers and
could not tolerate the inconsistensies of the gouache manufacturers.
Otherwise I would not even be able to copy my own work.....embarrassing for
a marbler! I continue to always fine tune the paints, and believe this will
be a lifelong experiment, and it has also been a very costly one, but worth
it to me. I have literally "poured" tens of thousands of dollars into my
marbling trough trying to figure all this out thus far. To make it all more
difficult...there is no one "formula".....each pigment has its own chemical
and physical properties which alter the need for certain ingredients.
Even having a consistent paint (and the acrylics are always more volitile
and unpredictable than the watercolors) is only part of the battle......so
many variables such as humidity, temperature....and I believe it was Diane
Maurer who once had me in hysterics because she even said the marblers good
or bad mood on that day could completely ruin things! So true.
- Dear Iris,
Is it be possible to let us know how one goes about preparing
marbling paints. For example the proportion of pigment to other
components of the marbling color, etc.
> I started making both types of paints over 15 years ago because Ido a lot
> of productio work where I have to match hundereds of the samepapers and
> could not tolerate the inconsistensies of the gouache manufacturers.work.....embarrassing for
> Otherwise I would not even be able to copy my own
> a marbler! I continue to always fine tune the paints, and believethis will
> be a lifelong experiment, and it has also been a very costly one,but worth
> it to me. I have literally "poured" tens of thousands of dollarsinto my
> marbling trough trying to figure all this out thus far. To make itall more
> difficult...there is no one "formula".....each pigment has its ownchemical
> and physical properties which alter the need for certainingredients.
- This always leaves me in a dilemma, since the marbling supply business is
part of the way I make my living. I have literally spent a fortune and a
lot of time trying to figure this out, but were it not the way I make my
living I would publish it all immediately. Perhaps someday I will. I don't
mean to be secretive or insincere on this matter, but I hope people will
understand that I cannot afford to give away what I have struggled with and
developed for so many years. I will as always, advise as well as I can on
the marbling techniques and problems.
The formulas (and I stress "formulaS" because it it different for each
pigment) are not a finished product yet either, I keep trying to improve
them. There are many good artist's handbooks....what I will say, for those
who want to experiment, is that it is basically a gouache or acrylic type
formula. They have recipes in these books that ought to work for marbling.
You may actually like them better than my paints for your own work. Mine
(the water colors) were developed to retain the more subdued subtleties of
papers for bookbinding prior to the 1860's. This is not a look that many
artist marblers want. I consider myself a bookworker more than an artist,
and therefore developed these paints so marblers who are doing work for
restorers could have a fairly accurate looking historical paper.
- Dear Marvelous Marblers,
I have followed Iris', Laura Sims', Patti and Mimi's, Jim Leech's,
Galen's, Don Guyot's and others' work for many years, admire the dedication
and self-discipline that is so evident and inspiring to all, feel blessed
beyond measure at the generous sharing and concern that have come my way
from these folks as I have toddled down my own path as an artist.
I remember when Laura and I were in an artists' co-op here in Asheville; she
would come to my studio and invite me to play with her paints and such when
she was finished marbling for the day and was always delighted to answer
questions, smooth away frustrations, buoy up my not-so-strong
self-confidence, as I splashed about in the gel and goo. Additionally,
Laura loaned me her show booth when I did my first craft fair, has been
gladly, lovingly available over the years to offer whatever she could to
further my work.
When I did my first show for the Southern Highlands Craft Guild, Patti and
Mimi came by to visit and said, "You're showing only books? Aren't you
brave!" I'd never thought of myself as being anywhere near brave, and yet,
having heard it said , I knew that the words were coming from caring hearts,
and so became brave.
Jim Leech talked with me for hours about his work when we were in a show
together last year in Washington. He could not share enough of his wisdom,
his philosophy about the world of marbling and his place in it. Suzanne
Martin, a papermaker and marbler, was nearby, and the three of us talked
ourselves into hilarious exhaustion about the work we love.
Art isn't easy, as Sondheim says, and we sacrifice and hustle in whatever
ways we can to make it possible to do this amazing work. I say, look to the
masters for inspiration, respect their many years of experience and hard
work, support their work by buying their books and taking their classes. One
of the most rewarding activities about making art of whatever sort is doing
the research and experimentation that results in our developing a personal
"path" that works for us as artists. With the plethora of books, not to
mention online instructions, available, it is truly easy to learn much more
than the basics about marbling. I suggest that rather than depend on one
person's point of view or methods, sample widely and develop your own way.
Best to all,
- Dear Iris:
Thank you for sharing so much of your experience in
marbling and paints. I am constantly amazed at how
much you are willing to share, I personally think you
should start up a 900 # line for marbling tips!
P.S. For other novice marblers like myself, Iris has
written an excellent booklet on 105 Marbling Tips and
Hints, various observations she's made through her
marbling trials. I highly recommend it.
Conversely, I would steer novice marblers away from
Gabrielle Gruenebaum's book on marbling (Dover Pubs).
It may be very affordable, but until you've actually
seen the process Ms. Gruenebaum's book will be of
absolutely no help whatsoever. It leaves the reader
even more confused about the process of marbling,
which used to be quite a jealously guarded secret in
--- irisnevins <irisnevins@...> wrote:
> This always leaves me in a dilemma, since the=====
> marbling supply business is
> part of the way I make my living.
Port Orchard <--> Bremerton <---------> Seattle
Do You Yahoo!?
Get Yahoo! Mail - Free email you can access from anywhere!
- Thanks Iris for your sharing your experience in marbling.
At 07:53 AM 10-10-2000 -0400, you wrote:
>This always leaves me in a dilemma, since the marbling supply business is~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>part of the way I make my living. I have literally spent a fortune and a
>lot of time trying to figure this out, but were it not the way I make my
>living I would publish it all immediately. Perhaps someday I will. I don't
>mean to be secretive or insincere on this matter, but I hope people will
>understand that I cannot afford to give away what I have struggled with and
>developed for so many years. I will as always, advise as well as I can on
>the marbling techniques and problems.
John Ang Cheng Siew
My Paper Marbling Website: <home3.pacific.net.sg/~johnacs>
- Dear Fred,
hey, thanks a lot for the advice, especially since I just read Gruenebaum's
book AGAIN last night, and decided there was no way I was going to figure
out the techniques for preparing the materials to even get ready for
marbling, after finishing that book again!! I really look forward to
studying the subject as much as possible and it helps to have some advice on
sources of material!! I hope to order Iris's book soon!!
----- Original Message -----
From: Fred Chang <ferrycommuter@...>
Sent: Tuesday, October 10, 2000 10:12 AM
Subject: Re: [Marbling] Re: Alcohol in paints &c.
> Dear Iris:
> Thank you for sharing so much of your experience in
> marbling and paints. I am constantly amazed at how
> much you are willing to share, I personally think you
> should start up a 900 # line for marbling tips!
> Fred Chang
> P.S. For other novice marblers like myself, Iris has
> written an excellent booklet on 105 Marbling Tips and
> Hints, various observations she's made through her
> marbling trials. I highly recommend it.
> Conversely, I would steer novice marblers away from
> Gabrielle Gruenebaum's book on marbling (Dover Pubs).
> It may be very affordable, but until you've actually
> seen the process Ms. Gruenebaum's book will be of
> absolutely no help whatsoever. It leaves the reader
> even more confused about the process of marbling,
> which used to be quite a jealously guarded secret in
> centuries past.
> --- irisnevins <irisnevins@...> wrote:
> > This always leaves me in a dilemma, since the
> > marbling supply business is
> > part of the way I make my living.
> Fred Chang
> Port Orchard <--> Bremerton <---------> Seattle
> Do You Yahoo!?
> Get Yahoo! Mail - Free email you can access from anywhere!
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- I heard the problem with Gabrielle's book was in the translation from
German. Supposedly the German version it was distilled from made sense,
though I don't read German. Gabrielle is certainly a competent marbler who
knows what she is doing.