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Re: [Marbling] size mixtures - carrageenan and tragacanth

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  • irisnevins
    Thanks Garrett ....I just make it fresh. I find nothing more depressing than starting a morning with filthy size, I always get bottom residue, I do about
    Message 1 of 7 , Aug 30, 2006
      Thanks Garrett ....I just make it fresh. I find nothing more depressing than starting a morning with filthy size, I always get bottom residue, I do about 80-100 sheets in a day so it's pretty useless after that. I just never liked the borax. I have followed Halfer and Chambers, and I think Loring's methods. It would be nice to have a tray up and running all the time to experiment. Though I can make size be ready in an hour with very hot water, blend no more than one TBS at a time ( I usually do four and make a thick gloop and add lots of water if it is to sit overnight) and I can actually work on hot/warm size quite well. I used to work like that long ago. When the mood struck. Now it's not so spontaneous, I have orders and plan around them. When not marbling I need the room for other pursuits too.... I have oddly enough, taken up guitar making and am doing the finishing work on the marbling bench lately.

      iris nevins

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: G. Dixon<mailto:gdixon@...>
      To: Marbling@yahoogroups.com<mailto:Marbling@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Tuesday, August 29, 2006 9:42 PM
      Subject: Re: [Marbling] size mixtures - carrageenan and tragacanth

      When I started marbling I used Anne Chambers book as my starting point and she advised one heaping teaspoonful (about 6-7 grams) of borax for 3 liters of size. It has some antiseptic qualities and I think that is does help to preserve the size a little longer, and that is why I use it. During the winter, when my room is cold, the size can last about two weeks in pretty good shape. In summer, with the warmer temperatures it is less effective - I can get only about 4 good days out of the size. I like to keep some useable size around in case I get an idea about trying something out. Joseph Halfer added about 10 grams of borax to six quarts of size, as best I can tell from his book. He did find that size with borax affected the paints - causes more spreading of the paints, and didn't recommend adding it when doing combed or drawn patterns. I haven't found that it affects my paints either way (perhaps because I developed my paints to work on this size), but I think I will test out
      some combed patterns with and without the borax to see if there is a difference. If you're not keeping the size, however, it wouldn't seem worth adding to me either.
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: irisnevins
      To: Marbling@yahoogroups.com<mailto:Marbling@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, August 28, 2006 9:38 AM
      Subject: Re: [Marbling] size mixtures - carrageenan and tragacanth

      Garrett... doesn't the borax mess your size up? It makes my lines less clear. With all kinds of paints. Why do you use it, for PH or do the materials work better?

      I was never taught marbling, it was just trial and lots of error, more error than trial, lol! Still I never bothered with PH issues, only as far as paper goes, but for the rest of it, I always kept things simple and easy and they work really well, even in the most hard water you can imagine. I heard about borax a few years into marbling and never liked it, nor saw for myself, a reason to use it at all. They say it preserves the size, but it never made a difference for me, and I hated looking at dirty size the next day anyway so out it would go. I know exactly how much I need for any amount of paper and just make that up.

      I wish my room would stay 50-55% humidity and 62 degrees year round. Even artificial air conditioning doesn't make things the same.

      iris nevins
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: dixongarrett<mailto:gdixon@...<mailto:gdixon@...>>
      To: Marbling@yahoogroups.com<mailto:Marbling@yahoogroups.com<mailto:Marbling@yahoogroups.com<mailto:Marbling@yahoogroups.com>>
      Sent: Sunday, August 27, 2006 1:02 PM
      Subject: [Marbling] size mixtures - carrageenan and tragacanth

      I appreciate the discussion and the interest. Susanne is right, we
      all develop our decorated paper styles and techniques as our local
      conditions demand or as our own particular difficulties force us to.
      As I have said, the advantage of this mixture, for me, has been that
      it makes the paints much less sensitive to ox gall. I use more ox
      gall than in the past, but I have never had the problem of residual
      gall building up on the size and interfering with the marbling, as
      happens on pure carrageenan, and have no problems with paint sinking.
      I work on a "thicker" size than Iris, and this will have some effect
      on the total amount of gall needed to float the paints. I obtain the
      tragacanth in powder form from Talas, but haved used other sources as
      well. I purchase 8 oz amounts. This lasts a long time and does not
      appear to spoil.

      My process is as follows: I mix carrageenan using the blender method
      with 12 grams (today this equaled 1 level tablespoonful) for each 1.5
      liters (a little more than 1 1/2 quarts) of water. I use tap water,
      but also add borax at about 1 teaspoonful for each 3 liters of size.
      I usually make about 5 gallons of size at a time. For each 3.75-4
      liters of size (or gallon)I will add 1 gram of gum tragacanth, so for
      the 5 gallons of size I blend 5 grams (today this measured 1 and 1/2
      teaspoonsful - 1 tsp was 3.4 grams) of gum tragacanth powder with hot
      water (usually 1/2 liter of water) and stir this into the carrageenan
      size. I let my size rest for about 12 hours before using it.

      I make my own paints, so there is no dispersant in them to start with.
      In winter, the temperature of my room is usually around 58 degrees
      Farenheit; in summer 65-70 degrees (winter marbling is better and the
      size lasts much longer).

      I have not found this mixture to be of much benefit when using acrylic
      paints chiefly for the reason that they have so much dispersant
      already in the paints that this small amount of tragacanth has little

      Comments are always welcome.
      Garrett Dixon

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