Archives for posts with tag: chine colle

Sizing, dosa, wheat pasteMany of our readers are quite knowledgeable when it comes to sizing your own paper, especially sizing your “go-to” paper.

Here is a step-by-step “recipe” for cooking up your own sizing and applying it to your favorite Eastern paper.

The photos shown here are mostly depicting sizing made from wheat starch.  Nope!, it’s not a gluten-free, but not a problem for the paper, and a nice alternative to animal-based sizing.

Exciting news regarding plant-based sizing… last night we received a new Eastern paper, already pre-sized with devil’s root starch, “konnyaku” -no animals used at all with this process, only human labor.  Photos will be posted soon on social media.

We have entertained many varying viewpoints on sizing and sizing recipes. What are yours? Please share below, along with your experiences in making your own sizing. In the meantime, enjoy our sizing tests, made in our paper “kitchen”, here in Providence.

Adding sizing to paper affects the paper fibers’ sensitivity to humidity, absorption, and bleeding. There are many materials that can be used to size paper; we will cover the sizing procedure for gelatin size and wheat paste. It is not unlike cooking, where 90% of the procedure is preparation. This method allows for easy application with a large soft-bristle brush.

Gelatin Sizing Recipe:

This is the recipe for rabbit skin glue that can be used to size paper. (Please note: the gelatin size will need to be prepared 8-12 hours in advance.) What you will need:

  • Rabbit skin glue: 1/3 Cup (powdered or solid sticks)
  • Crystalline Alum: 1 Pinch (potassium aluminum sulfate)
  • Double boiler with lid (a glass jar and sauce pan will also work)
  • 16–32 oz. plastic / glass container (glass is recommended)
  • Soft-bristle brush

Step One: Soak the glue in a quart of cold water for several hours until it swells and softens. (With solid sticks this may take overnight or 12+ hours).

 

Sizing, dosa, animal skin glue

 

Step Two: Once the glue has softened and become gelatinous heat in a double boiler. The mixture should be stirred continuously until the gelatin has dissolved and the glue has become one consistent solution. (Note: never allow glue to boil). Remove from heat and stir in 1 pinch of alum. Allow the glue to cool slightly and apply warm to your paper. Apply one coat to each side and allow to dry completely on newsprint. Additional coats may be added as necessary.

Sizing, dosa, animal skin glue, wheat paste Sizing, dosa, animal skin glue, wheat paste

Sizing, dosa, animal skin glue, wheat paste

The remaining size solution can be saved in a jar in the refrigerator, and only requires heating to be used again.

 Sizing, dosa, animal skin glue, wheat pasteSizing, dosa, animal skin glue, wheat paste

Wheat Paste Recipe:

This is the recipe for wheat paste that can be used to size paper.(Please note: the wheat paste will need to be prepared one day in advance.) What you will need:

  • Wheat starch: 1/3 cup
  • Double boiler with lid (a glass jar and sauce pan will also work)
  • 16–32 oz. plastic / glass container (glass is recommended)
  • Measuring cup (1/4 cup – 1/2 cup size)
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Nylon fabric

Step One: Fill the bottom of the double boiler with cold water and place on your heat source at a medium heat setting and bring to a low boil. (Alternatively, if you do not have a double boiler a glass jar placed in a saucepan works as well. Add enough water to submerge 1/3 of the jars height.) Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste

Step Two: While you are waiting, measure out your wheat starch and water. We used a 4:1 ratio. 4 parts water to 1 part wheat starch: 11/3 cup of water to 1/3 cup of wheat starch. Mix the starch and water together in the top pan of the double boiler, (or the jar for those who are not using the double boiler) Mix thoroughly, making sure none of the starch has stuck to the bottom. The resulting mixture should be an opaque white solution resembling milk.

Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste

Once you have mixed the ingredients place the pan over the boiling water (or place your jar in the pan) and stir continuously until the mixture begins to thicken. The mixture will thicken to the consistency of heavy cream and small “chunks” will begin to form. Continue stirring until smooth and the mixture has the consistency of custard.

Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste

Step Three: Now the mixture can be covered and allowed to cook over a low boil for 25 minutes, with a quick stir every 5 minutes. The paste should continue to thicken and become somewhat translucent as it cooks. After you’ve allowed the paste to cook, add small amounts of hot water from the pan to your mixture and stir until the paste is smooth and custard like.

Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste

Pour the paste from your pan into your designated container and allow it to cool in a refrigerator over night. This is to allow the paste to gel into a homogeneous solid.

Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste

Step Four: Once the paste has gelled, wring a small amount through a piece of fabric: nylon, cotton, handkerchief, etc… Slowly add small amounts of water and mix with a brush until the paste is thin enough to apply with a brush to your paper. Apply one coat to each side and allow to dry completely on newsprint. Additional coats may be added as necessary.

Sizing, dosa,  wheat pasteSizing, dosa,  wheat paste

Sizing, dosa,  wheat pasteSizing, dosa,  wheat paste

Remember: As with all size, test for each use, and dilute as appropriate. If in doubt, thin and apply multiple coats. Allow the paper to completely dry between each coat. The best way to learn how much size to use, and when to use it is through experience and experimentation.

Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste, gelatin, rabbit skin glue

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About Gampi from Japan

The Chinese characters for gampi literally translates as  “goose skin”. This paper is sometimes referred to as “silk tissue”.

Paper Connection’s Gampi Paper Collection is made from 100% gampi, a lustrous, silky fiber native to Japan and other parts of Asia. Both in its sheet form or in the raw fiber form, gampi by its natural make-up reacts to ink as if it had sizing on it.  In other words, it holds ink on its crisp, smooth surface beautifully.  At Paper Connection, we call it the “queen of printmaking”.

All of our gampi sheets were made in Kōchi Prefecture, located on the island of Shikoku, in southwestern Japan.  Gampi fiber comes from the inner bark of branches of the gampi bush. Since it is difficult to cultivate, it is obtained from wild plants, therefore paper is especially coveted.  Although some thinner gampi sheets seem fragile, each sheet is extremely strong and impervious to insects.

Historically, gampi was used for mimeographs.  Today, with its high quality finish, the uses have expanded to chine collé, etching, lithograph, monotype, relief, offset, letterpress and inkjet printing, art conservation and model-making- like those paper balloons…  It’s incredibly strong; much stronger than it looks!gampi, gampi papers, washi1. (First 2 papers from left) . We stock Usuyou Gampi-shi @ 10g/m² in white and natural in sheets 24.8 x 37 in.  and now both of these  gampi papers stocked in 10-meter rolls!  Rolls are used for big installations or big prints, even dipped in wax!  Check out these stunning monoprints on usuyou gampi paper dipped in encaustic wax by Christine Shannon Aaron.gampi, usuyou gampi, encaustic, monoprint

2. (3rd image from left) . Kitakata paper is the only one in our collection which is made from a gampi mix fiber and made by Awagami Factory.  Not only do we have kitakata paper in sheets, but in a few weeks  we will have kitakata in rolls!   Below is a group of 4 intaglio prints on kitakata paper by the talented Amanda J. Thackery.

kitakata, gampi, Amanda Thackery

3. (2 papers from right side).  We also stock sheets of pre-backed gampi or Gampi Sukiawase paper.   100% gampi surface with a mixed pulp backing.

These work well for intaglio; really any kind of relief printmaking.  Style # M-0227 80g/m² Natural.  #M-0229 white 100g/m² .   Both are 24.8 x 37 inches.   One other weight of limited edition gampi  in stock as well.

20-meter roll of gampi sukiawase paper in White #M-0229 recently added to our inventory.

Read our blog-interview with printmaker Larry Welo and his high praise of using gampi sukiawase paper for his etchings.

Fresh from our trip to the annual Southern Graphics Council print conference, joint-hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Peck School for the Arts and Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, we were bubbling over with all the printmaking fervor .   Here’s local blog-article about the conference.

The icing on the cake was meeting our loyal customer and established printmaker,  Larry Welo, who lives not too far North from Milwaukee. Larry made the trek down to  meet and to discuss paper and printmaking over dinner.

So in honor of everything printmaking, and a little Aiko’s connection, we share with you our chat with Mr. Welo.  Printmakers take note! You may take away very interesting tidbits of information regarding Japanese paper and printing techniques.

PCI: So good to finally meet, Larry!  Tell us a little about yourself: What kind of artwork do you do?  What attracts you to working with paper and what do you like best about working with it?

LW: I have worked professionally as an artist printmaker since the mid 1970s.  I fell in love with printmaking (etching in particular) when I was a student.  I decided that this would be my career.  There was no great logic to it.  I was idealistic, and knew that this is something that I can do better than anything else.  I did not really care about the realities of life…making money etc.  Art was my passion as a child, and, as a college student I realized that it would become my profession.  I drew a lot with pen and ink, and etching was like that, but there was such a depth to the images.  It was the line work, the look of aquatint, the plate tone on the image and the embossment that had immense appeal to me.  Paper is one of the vehicles for etching.  It is of the utmost importance.  There are many steps involved in creating an etching, but it always ends up being printed on paper.  Over the years, I have used a large number of different papers.  I quickly learned that they are vastly different from each other.  It is up to the artist to decide what works best and will work with them to give the best results.  In the early 1980s, I visited Aiko’s Art Materials in Chicago for the first time.  I was living and working in Minneapolis at the time.  I knew that there were other printmakers throughout art history who preferred Japanese papers, and I was curious.  I began purchasing papers from Aiko’s at that time.  I tried quite a few of them.  They had a large selection of dyed papers, which I would experiment with frequently.  I figured out a way to use the dyed papers for chine colle that gave me consistently good and sometimes fairly elaborate results. I would cut out the papers and overlap them so that the cut out areas would allow the underlying papers, which were also cut out, to show through.  It was a means of achieving colors without needing to use additional etching plates.

Driftless, etching with chine colle

Driftless, etching with chine colle

Fertile Ridge, etching with chine colle

Fertile Ridge, etching with chine colle

PCI: Your results are beautiful.  How did you hear about our company?

LW: When Aiko’s closed, I received a mailing from Paper Connection.  They carried an Aiko’s paper which I used frequently.  It was Sakamoto.  I liked using it with some of my multiple plate color etchings, and I missed no longer being able to find it.  I became interested in trying other papers carried by Paper Connection.

PCI:  So you had a bit of exposure to certain Japanese papers.  How did Paper Connection help widen out some of your knowledge on the different types of Japanese paper?

LW: I received very good suggestions on what might work well for my intaglio prints.  I carefully cut out pieces of the recommended sample book swatches, labeled them, laid them on an inked plate and printed on them.  I determined which sheets I liked best and began ordering the sheets individually so I could give them more of a chance.

Attempting to organize the search for the perfect printmaking paper tests.

Attempting to organize the search for the perfect printmaking paper tests.

PCI:  We love how you put the samples to work! That’s great, as we are not printmakers ourselves. Any of your experimenting and feedback is what we want to hear about.  So after all this testing out of our samples, what papers do you use of ours and for what process? What did you like about those papers that aids in your creative and/or technical process?

Seeking the perfect etching paper tests.

Seeking the perfect etching paper tests.

LW: Gampishi Sukiawase (M-0227) is my favorite paper.  It is an expensive paper, and when I first tried it, I thought it would be only the one time.  I was totally seduced by this paper, and have used it ever since.  It prints like no other.  When I print an etching, I rely on manipulating the ink tone on the plate.  The ink tone gives me more subtle value options.  There are very few other papers that can print this ink tone well. This paper prints it like no other.  It is a joy to print on.  It is made with gampi fibers and is very strong yet very sensitive.  Sakamoto Heavy (AI-224B) is another paper that I like.  It is a very sensitive paper. Kozoshi Sized Heavyweight (M-0206) is also very nice to print on.   It is inexpensive and has many of the desirable characteristics of some of the more expensive sheets.  I hope to continue to try other Paper Connection papers…maybe the best one is yet to be found.

Shady Characters, made with M-0227, Gampi.

Shady Characters, made with M-0227, Gampi.

PCI: What are some of the differences between our papers and others you have worked with?

LW: The sheets are extremely sensitive.  What I do to the plate when I am wiping it shows up on the printed image…everything.  There is never any blotchiness.  Everything is very clean, and I am able to get the full range of values (light to dark) that I seek.

PCI: So, if you had to recommend a Paper Connection paper for a particular application:

LW: I like Gampishi Sukiawase (M-0227) because it makes me seem to be a better artist than I really am!  I call it the Stradivarius of printmaking papers.

PCI: Wow! We wonder what the gampi papermaker would say to that.  If you could have a conversation with any
artist present or past, who would it be?

LW:  I would like to get inside Rembrandt’s head sometime.

PCI: Agreed! We saw one of his Apostle series at the Getty once. Mesmerizing.  Larry, thank you so much. We appreciate the time you took to respond to our questions, and even more so, we thank you for being such a valued customer, and artist who truly appreciates the art of handmade paper!. For more on Larry, check out his website here.

Thanks Larry!

Thanks Larry!

March has been a very busy month for us.  We have been planning for the upcoming Southern Graphics Conference, a printmaking love fest that this year is being held in Milwaukee.  So printmaking methods have been in our minds, maybe a bit too much. What papers are best for lithos? Is gampi good for chine colle? , etc. (The answer, by the way, is yes, yes and yes.)  However, to take a break from the wonderful world of printmaking, we turn our attention to a different, if not extraordinary application of our papers, by Arlene McGonagle.  We have known Arlene for many years; she is a very faithful, loyal supporter of Paper Connection. And we love her unique approach to transforming our sheets of papers into something three dimensional, and even poetic. We will let her explain.

Layered, by Arlene McGonagle

Layered

PCI: Tell us a little bit about yourself: What kind of artwork do you do?

AM: I make baskets – one of a kind sculptural baskets. I have been a traditional basket maker since 1980. I grew up on a produce farm in Hadley, Massachusetts. Baskets were part of our harvesting process in which our vegetables were all harvested using different basket styles. As a young person I was not aware of my passion for baskets, but I do believe growing up on a farm gave me the knowledge for the functional construction aspects of basket weaving.

PCI: What or who has influenced and inspired you?

AM: After making functional Nantucket and Shaker baskets for fifteen years I needed a methodology in which to become more creative in my personal form of expression. So I returned to college entering The University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth in the Fiber Arts and Textile Design Department for a Masters Degree. As a result my work and materials changed overnight. The Fiber Arts Department encouraged us to use different and unusual materials from barks to wire and everything in-between.

PCI: What attracts you to working with paper?

AM: The wide variety of texture in paper, I felt the more texture the better in the paper I use. The paper reminded me of the barks, woods, and reeds I had used in the traditional basketry process. However, the paper I chose was colorful with intricate designs and flexible without soaking it in water. It was also gentler on my hands and easier to weave.

PCI: That’s great, especially for your hands’ health too!  What do you like best about working with paper?

AM: For me it’s all about texture and color. I love the thick kyosei-shi paper because it reminds me of fabric. I have been working in neutral colors lately, but this paper allows me to go wild with color if the basket calls for color. I also love the mulberry, or kozo paper for its translucent and regal qualities. When words are written on this paper it adds a note of importance and strength.

PCI: How did you hear about our company?

AM: I had heard about Paper Connection for many years, but did not know it was open to the public. So I called one day and explained that I was a basket artist looking for special textured paper and made an appointment to stop in.

PCI: Simple enough. We love your initiative.  Did you have much knowledge about Japanese papers before using our papers?

AM:  I had no knowledge of Japanese papers whatsoever. I fell in love with the papers offered at Paper Connection and sometimes even designed the baskets around the available papers. I learned more about paper variety and function with each visit to Paper Connection. The vast knowledge of the staff and the wonderful stories Lauren would tell about the makers of the paper helped me to realize that the paper was almost sacred and that my designs had to live up to the value of the papers I purchased.

PCI: Wow. We’re so happy and grateful to hear that.  What a testimony to the artistry of the papermakers themselves!  What are some of the differences between our papers and others you have worked with?

AM:  I seem to keep going back to Kyosei-shi for most of my basketwork. It is physically strong and with a wide variety of colors. However, I can buy it in off-white and dye in the colors I need. I don’t know if I could dye other papers in a water bath.

PCI: So to sum up?

AM: I like kyosei-shi paper because it is strong and textured like fabric for my baskets; it is flexible and does not tear when I weave it with wire.

Basket Book by Arlene McGonagle

Basket Book by Arlene McGonagle

PCI: Arlene, thank you so much.  We love your work, we appreciate how you use these wonderful papers, the motivation behind it, and your generous support over the many years.

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For more information about Arlene, please visit her website, Basket Sculpture.  Her studio is located in beautiful Warren, RI.  To read more about her work, Arlene was featured in the Fall 2012 issue of the National Basketry Organization.  Article courtesy of Arlene McGonagle.