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Re: New member question

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  • Regina St.John
    Daniel St. John Regina St John Chena River Marblers 70 Justice Drive Amherst, MA 01002 Phone/fax (413) 253-2835 Www.chenarivermarbl Zuhal, Regarding your
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 5, 2012
      Daniel St. John
      Regina St John
      Chena River Marblers
      70 Justice Drive
      Amherst, MA 01002
      Phone/fax (413) 253-2835
      Www.chenarivermarbl

      Zuhal,

      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.

      Dan





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    • George Reynolds
      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. George
      Message 2 of 4 , Dec 10, 2012
        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.
        George
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