RE: Good first alt process

From: Judy Seigel ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 11/04/04-10:54:24 PM Z
Message-id: <>

On Thu, 4 Nov 2004, Peter Marshall wrote:
> I think discussions here can make gum seem difficult, but really reflect
> the fact that it is a very flexible process and can give usable results
> with very different individual ways of working. Everyone 'perfects' the
> process to get what they want from it. Beware of anyone who tries to lay
> down law about it.
> I've had quite a few students who have tried gum, and none have failed to
> get results of a kind first time, whichever book or notes they have worked
> from. So if you are interested in gum, give it a try. When you've made a
> few following whichever book or online resource you start with, start to
> read some of the comments here and see which improve your results.

I agree with Peter here, also with the others who agreed with him. Gum is
indeed like the wonderful shmoo -- you can almost always, even doing it
"wrong" (whatever that is) get something of value.

However, I don't recommend it for first rattle out of the box... For one
thing you need to lay in a bunch of materials and equipment -- the paints,
the colors, the gum, the spreader, the paper, the size, the hardener, the
squeegee, the gelatin, the anti-foam, etc. etc. etc. Plus there are, even
in the simplest gum, many steps and variables to puzzle over...what is a
"correct" exposure, development, proportions of mix, % of dichromate, etc.
etc. etc... all those variables of the variables. Yes, we are agreed that
there is no special "right" answer here, but still there are plenty of
wrong or problematic ones.

Not that those variables will disappear, but I find them so much more
confidently -- and knowingly -- dealt with when the newbie has actually
coated paper with a mix of her own concoction, exposed under a negative
and "developed." Especially I think when starting on one's own, cyanotype
is a perfect no-fail (almost) opener... it requires just two ingredients &
a piece of paper... That strangeness of the first steps is thus conquered
usually in one try. After that we did gum in the class... (and VDB last).

Thinking back now, I think I myself might have bailed out if a gum print
was the opener... of course today there's a much higher level of
knowledge, especially from this list, but still.... I wonder how many
folks in this discussion actually began with gum !?

Received on Thu Nov 4 22:54:29 2004

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