Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Paste Paper Experiments

I've just gone through a period of trying out different recipes for paste paper and it was really fun.  I still haven't worked out what is the best paper to use and which paste is best.  There's something called Mohawk superfine that  I haven't found yet to try out.    I used some Fabriano Tiziano in colors and Strathmore series 400 acid free drawing paper in a big pad.  These all worked to varying degrees.  When you dampen the paper there is buckling which is hard to manage.  The Tiziano may have behaved the best but the Strathmore worked well, too.  I tried Japanese calligraphy paper in a pad which was no good at all--the colors weren't crisp and there wasn't enough contrast.   Maybe sizing is the issue...  There were so many variables and I should have kept notes but I was having too much fun and was too caught up in the design part of the process to do that.  Pastes that I tried:  white cake flour, wallpaper paste which said it was wheat paste, and rice flour cooked.  The rice flour required lengthy cooking.  I really think the biggest variable was whether I added some additives I read about--tincture of green soap and glycerine.  I would definitely add those in the future.   I even tried one batch using acrylic glazing medium with color but, surprisingly, it was dreadful.  The ink blurred after I made the design.   Since I'm not sure the wallpaper paste was actually methyl cellulose I plan to try the expensive version sold for bookbinding that is labelled as methyl cellulose next and see how that goes.  It's really easy to mix up which is good.  I've used it for Japanese woodblock and I like it.  One other possibility from woodblock printing is Nori paste which showed up for sale in a big jar container at my local art store.  I guess I would just water it down sufficiently. I wish the paper had a bit of shine and I read that methyl cellulose gives that effect.  There was an estate sale recently for some people who had a private press--The Golden Hind Press.  Arthur Rushmore was the pressman and his daughter Delight Rushmore designed paste paper for the books they printed.   The sale was almost over when I got there so not much was left, but I found an empty book cover made with the paste paper and bought it.  Thank you Delight!  My paper doesn't look nearly as good as hers but I like it nonetheless.  It's good to have as a sort of benchmark for success.  Hers is fairly shiny as if it were waxed.  I apologise for the quality of the photographs.