From: Randall Webb (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: 02/04/00-05:43:22 PM Z
A few notes on Glue and Gum printing and on Gum in general in relation to "Spirits of Salts " book.
The scope of the book allows us to cover the basic methods but does not make it possible to deal with all the refinements and variations. We usually find that students or newcomers to alt processes latch onto one or two processes and then do further research.
I've always used glue, either Gloy or previously Stephens' for the following reasons:
1) It's cheap and available everywhere.
2) Gum arabic or gum acacia is sold here in industrial quantities, needs a lot of preparation and also needs a preservative- usually formalin- which is filthy stuff.
The alternative is Windsor and Newton's gum arabic for water colourists. This is stable but very expensive for what it is. Quite honestly I have never had much trouble with the colloid content. The usual problems are the paper, the sizing and the pigments.
I have always regarded gum as a somewhat primitive process. The idea of brushing glue, soot and a nasty orange liquid on a piece of paper, leaving it in the sun and then putting it under a hot shower is a bizarre way of making a photo!!!!!. I tend to use it either for graphics or as an expressionist medium.
I tend not to impose pre- conditions on old processes. I let the emulsion take its own course. The process sits in the dirivers seat and I am curious passenger in the back. If it looks OK then it probably is OK.Having said that I am excited by the precise tonalities obtained by machine made and coated silver gelatine paper such as Ektalure in a cold cathode enlarger.
Being both lazy and impatient I usually by-pass the auto development bit and use either the hot shower head, a brush or on occasions, a pot scourer. The latter gives real impressionism.As the man said,
"THERE AIN'T NO RULES"
As far as alt processes go I regard them as printmaking which has a distinct physical quality. Ink, gelatine,pigment,gelatine, gum.silver, iron ,precious metals on homemade,handmade,mouldmade paper, cloth, ceramics etc. This is what makes it buzz.
I also think of printmaking as a craft based activity as opposed to a science based one . Apart from pt/pd and silver I tend not to use use scales more than necessary, relying rather on instinct. (Shock, horror) !!.
When you mix ink for etching or bromoil you can't measure it. Only the feel of the ink under the knife
and blood sweat and experience matter.
I'm not very keen on chemistry or physics and too old for biology and so my densitometer lies unused on the shelf So, OK , it measures density but can it tell you how to get those glowing shadows in a palladium print or the vibrating whites of a well wiped etching?
That's it. Can I go now.?
As you know I receved my copy of " Spirts of Salts " I have ben lookin threw it but a few things bother me. A exp on gum under shopping list they say buy a small bottle or glue Don't bother with the traditional gum arabic it iss difficult to prepare and needs a preservative to keep. It goes on and shows you how to mix using glue. I satrted working alt -process with gum I have not done it in a long time but I never heard of using glue. I know there a lot of you out there who work with gum. Have eny of you used glue?? I got my Amexp bill on the book it was $ 33.34 in dollers Take care James Romeo,
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