Re: Agate papers
- Susanne Krause is not able to post replies to the group - so I promised
her to post her answer to my message.
Here it is:
Yahoo says they cannot accept my posting, why I do not know, but I
thought you'd like an answer to your question nevertheless:
Agate papers are a sub group of Sprinkled Papers. They are/were indeed
made predominantly in an industrial or semi-industrial process. The
technique is no secret: a sheet is brushed in the basic colour and
immediately afterwards sprinkled, i.e. while the first colour is still
wet; this accounts for the soft fringes around every sprinkle.
To make full format sheets in predictable quality is quite another
thing, though. The 'open' time is very short as all the sprinkles must
land in the wet basic colour at more or less the same time.
Predictably, the work has to be done at lightning speed. You need also
to find the right tools, colourants and additives to make sure that all
the sprinkles are of more or less the same size and form, dry quickly
while keeping their shape and spread evenly. The room's climate has to
be just so. The usually glazed surface was usually achieved in a
So you see it's the perfect thing for (19th century) industrial
production: quick, cheap, glossy. They are still produced and still on
big sheets (70x100) of deplorable quality and still glossy and still
abominably cheap at EUR 2,11 netto per sheet (as in the current
catalogue of one of the big German bookbindind suppliers).
For comparison: I'm hand making something like agate papers for
restoration, meaning on certified base paper with pH neutral colourants
and a protective brushing on top. Being no machine but a human paper
decorator, to achieve the desired effects I have to go the long way and
put the sheets to dry three times between steps. I'm selling at EUR
9,40 netto per sheet in 50x70, and it is definitely not the sort I'm
having the best gain with.
As to nomenclature. Agate papers is the correct term. But as each
producer wants their customers to come back they invented the most
colourful trade names, so don't let yourself be deceived by another
term for the same paper!
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