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Re: [Marbling] Re:Alum precipitate

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  • David Maisterra
    It´s very interesting your experience Iris. I have to aclare that when saying that the use of borax in hard water, really it´s not my experience I learned
    Message 1 of 12 , Aug 31, 2008
      It´s very interesting your experience Iris.
      I have to aclare that when saying that the use of borax in hard water, really it´s not my experience I learned that from books of marbling, the trial and error take out the best results I´m sure. My tap water is very good, and the filter works mainly to take out the chlorine and others lighter residues.
      I admire your work, looks gorgeous. And the work that´s behind amazing.
      Even if I don´t have the same problem, your story is highly valuable for many of us.
      Sorry if it´s not clear my english... I do it the best I can.

      David Maisterra

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: irisnevins
      To: Marbling@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Sunday, August 31, 2008 10:05 PM
      Subject: Re: [Marbling] Re:Alum precipitate

      All I can say, is that no one taught me to marble, therefore no one ever told me I could not work with hard water, and I had horribly hard water, and still do, and can't speak for 100% of all cases of hard water everywhere... but it has worked fine for me for 30 years+ of marbling. Somewhere along the line I was told my water should not work, so I used some borax and it made the lines fuzzy and soft and the colors weak, instead of sharp and clear. The only difference I have found in working with hard water is that I need a little more carrageenan to get the same viscosity as with soft water.

      Actually, when I have for example taught or worked, in a place with soft water, I was fully thrown by the difference, did not like it better and couldn't wait for my rust and lime filled water again. Not trying to be contrary to anyone, just stating my own experience, where I just adapted to my water in several different places the studio has been and places I have traveled to. Sometimes perhaps things can be made a little more complicated than they need to be. Marbling is complicated enough by itself.

      A little experimentation this way or that with materials may be all that is needed. I know I need less carrageenan in a soft water area, know I need stronger alum in warm weather etc. There are probably many things I do "wrong" yet the results are good. Like working with dry papers, then reading that it was impossible (but oh how I hate to have to alum in the midst of marbling, so this is great that it works). Like making size a few hours before use, even working on it while still warm, and later hearing I must wait closer to 24 hours.... then finding the ideal for me is 12-15 hours. I tried all the other ways, distilled water for example for making size ....which i do use for making paint by the way, so we can always rule out the water if someone has a marbling problem, yet when in my own studio I often water the paints down with plain old hard tap water and see no difference, even in papers kept for decades. It was only after years i started hearing I was marbling the wrong way... so tried other ways, maybe things could be better, and returned to the way I was used to, hard water and all.

      Sorry to make a short story long, but I'd advise just trying to work with what you have at hand before driving yourself crazy, it may surprise you and work even if it technically shouldn't. The only one thing I ever found would not work, at least with my paints, is size made from water that came from a water softener. It's the same weak fuzzy colors I get from borax. If there is too much alum in solution, try less, or try hotter water, whatever gets the paints on the papers is the right way for you and it may be different for someone else. I have also taught many people to marble using hard water with no trouble, not once was there an unsuccessful class, and if they went home to a different water chemistry and things acted differently, a quick phone call usually sorted out the problems without much troubleshooting.

      I am tempted to once again try to make size with distilled water, to compare, maybe I am fully missing something, but have done this numerous times before and really saw no difference. I am lazy too and don't want to lug all that water all the time! Still many seem to like it better and some think it necessary, so curiosity is getting to me once again. I suspect, like all the other times, I will go back to the devil I know, good old hard NJ tap water. I do find the size is better made very hot, blended hot and hot water added, not cold, and maybe that is something necessary for working with very hard water. Whatever the reason it works very well, for both alum and size, at least here.

      Iris Nevins

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: David Maisterra<mailto:contacto@...>
      To: Marbling@yahoogroups.com<mailto:Marbling@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Sunday, August 31, 2008 7:38 PM
      Subject: Re: [Marbling] Re:Alum precipitate

      I have a filter too and it´s work fine for me... but I not really recommend the use of borax in the alum solution (you can in the carrageen if you had a hard water). The alum it´s used sometimes in water treatment plants like an floculant (sulfate of alum and potassium or sulfate of alum and ammonium) like someone told here... I suggest the best choice if you have a hard water and can´t purify with an adecuate filter its make the alum and wait 1 day or more, then filter that solution with an paper filter like the ones to make cofee (this will eliminates the heavy particules formed in the process) and if you wanted it a little more saturated add alum to taste. Additonaly like an precaution I do this process everytime to filter the impurities of the salt.
      By the subject of the degradation of the alum with the high temperature, I know that the potassium alum salt not degradates with the heat... but maybe the salt of ammonium it does, possibly in more degree if you use some contaminated water, or the salt its not so pure...

      David Maisterra

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Sue Cole
      To: Marbling@yahoogroups.com<mailto:Marbling@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Sunday, August 31, 2008 3:03 PM
      Subject: [Marbling] Re:Alum precipitate

      I had said that about distilled water because the marbling books I have say to use
      distilled water, although I did hear from others about using borax or calgon in the
      water. I bought a Britta filter so I wouldn't have to keep buying so much distilled
      water, although my tap water is pretty good by itself.

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