Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Sticky Gilding Situation

          Reporting back on the Simple Scribe gold size, this material is indeed very sticky. In fact I think it is the stickiest substance I have ever encountered. It comes in a plastic bottle about three inches high, with a plastic screw cap with a neck opening of about half an inch diameter. I found it quite difficult to get the brush or pen into this without getting size on the side of the handle. As it is so sticky it is hard to wipe off anything it comes into contact with. I then tipped it over, but managed to save most of it, and spent an interesting time trying to wipe it off the formica work surface. It is also very difficult to remove from your fingers.
          I tried it with both brush and pen. You have to use a brush you don't care about, as it is hard to wash out of the bristles. The pen was quite successful, (dark marks are inky residue on the pen nib), and the gold sticks very well to this size. I found it difficult to control with the brush, applying more than I intended. The brush had seen better days and I couldn't get a fine enough point  to apply it exactly as I wanted, even though I was trying for a more casual effect.
          I have a concern with this size that it stays sticky for a very long time (up to six weeks?) and for my project, in a book, it may stick to the opposite page. Once a book leaves my hands I have no control over the conditions in which it exists, it may be in a hot damp climate, in freezing temperatures, under heavy objects.....I left it under a heavy weight for a few days and it seemed OK, and the experiments of about three or four weeks ago seem to have dried off, and are not apparently sticky. But it is an element of risk to consider.
          I may revert to the reversible PVA from Hewit's, that I have used for years, and there is also the shell gold (powdered gold mixed with gelatine) that I haven't yet tried on this paper... So many avenues, just the one pair of legs...
          Here comes another shameless plug, this time for a very accomplished printmaker,
 David Bull, who has spent many years learning and making Japanese woodblock prints (Moku Hanga). I came across his work when searching for another way of editioning coloured prints. (It quickly became obvious that there was no chance I would live long enough to become proficient in this method of printmaking, it is something that takes years to perfect.)
          His latest project is The Mystique of Japanese Prints and he's producing a series of modestly-priced prints that exemplify different techniques, one a month, and a special elegantly designed wooden case that acts as a display easel and storage chest in one. As well as being exceptionally talented he is also very generous with his knowledge and shares his techniques. He has produced a DVD "Your first Print", a step-by-step guide to Moku Hanga, also for a very modest price. Worth checking out if you like artists' original prints and a good way of collecting original modern art. End of plug.
          I've been working on more illustrations and the title page and will show them in another post soon. My feet are paddling away like mad under the surface of the water, although I may not seem to be making much progress.