Re: New member question
- Well just remember that the water solution gets more and more filled with paint as you go so you would not want to preserve it for to long. Plus you lose some every time you lift off the paper or fabric plus you have evaporation ... I find if its done in a cool place like 60F it lasts or 6 or 7 days anyway.
- You know last summer I did a demo at a gallery in western mass and it was about 95 degrees. As the day went on the paint started doing some strange things to the point that toward the end the paint started disintegrating for lack of a better term. It actually could be interesting if you catch it at the right moment. Good luck!
- Daniel St. John
Regina St John
Chena River Marblers
70 Justice Drive
Amherst, MA 01002
Phone/fax (413) 253-2835
Regarding your question on how to extend the working life of the carragheen
marbling bath, I would like to share some our experience with you. It is
true that dry carragheen powder is becoming increasingly expensive and it
economical to attempt to make it last longer. We, however, have never
resorted to adding preservatives to the bath. Regarding health concerns
having to do with formalin (formaldehyde) you can refer to the EPA studies
on line. We visited marbling studios in Florence, Italy in August and were
told that the Summer months are when their marblers take their vacations to
avoid dealing with the very problems you are concerned with in Australia.
We teach annually in Virginia where it can be quite hot and humid. With 10
students and 10 tanks each holding as much as 2.5 gallons of bath and the
fact that each paper made as well as the cleaning swipes with newspaper
requires continual addition of new bath; it is desirable to get a little
more time out of the bath. Our answer is to make sufficient bath the night
before and make a thicker bath than is called for in most recipes. We buy 5
and 10 pound bags of ice, wrap them in black plastic bags and leave them in
the large plastic container. If the ice melts overnight, additional bags of
ice can be added and left through the day. If you are just working with one
3 gallon tank, it would not be hard to empty the contents of the tank at the
end of the day and place the bath in a refrigerator over night. We also
marble large quantities of silk in a 10 foot tank holding 35-40 gallons of
bath. If it is hot, I place bags of ice around in the tank when we are
not marbling as well as in our reserve tanks (usually 2 thirty gallon
containers. Some people use methyl cell to get longer use of a bath. We
think that carrageen gives the most control of patterns and are willing to
pay the price. We never make a carragheen bath until we are ready to marble
continually without interruption until the bath rots.
For one of the most authoritative answers to your question, it would be
useful to find a copy of "Marbled Paper: "It's History, Techniques, and
Patterns". by Richard J. Wolfe. Especially look at Pages 155 and 156.
I would like to offer more of a philosophical comment on this issue of
preserving a marbling bath because it may be undesirable to worry to much
about extending the life of the bath beyond a day or two. Carragheen is a
disaccharide, an organic molecule consisting of two long chains. It is a
form of sugar produced by the red algae plant as stored food. It is a
natural food for bacteria which are constantly consuming it and breaking it
down just as is true of milk. It is natural for the viscosity and the
surface tension to change in the course of its use. Artistically, the
marbler can learn to use the various states of the bath to obtain different
types of patterns. An example of this is when we are able to make finer
combed patterns such as nonpareil derivative ones when the bath is more
viscous and the colors on the surface are less mobile. When the bath is
looser we might choose to work with veined patterns. If you read the
descriptions of 19th century marblers such as Wollnough, some very excellent
patterns are achieved when the bath is old and well used. I have found that
The Tiger Eye pattern works best in a looser bath.
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- Dan you must post more often to this group!! And to everyone in the group if you get a chance to take a class with Regina and Dan go for it.