Re: Magnani Pescia et al.. for gumprinting

From: Katharine Thayer ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 10/27/05-03:26:13 AM Z
Message-id: <>

davidhatton wrote:
> Hi Katherine,
> Thank you for that most comprehensive response. I note and agree that
> aesthetically speaking, all other things being equal, the surface,
> texture and colour of a particular paper will appeal to some and not to
> others.

Hi David,
Back when I was first looking at papers for gum printing, I bought
sample packets from Daniel Smith that had 4" samples of all their
watercolor papers, in all weights and surfaces available, and all their
printmaking papers. That was immensely useful to me; unfortunately
Daniel Smith doesn't seem to offer these sample packets any longer. But
I wonder if there would be a supplier in UK (maybe some of our UK
subscribers would know) who would be able to do this for you. It would
be a quick way to eliminate papers that have a texture you don't like,

Sometime later, for a demonstration for a workshop, I took these samples
and printed the same print (a woman's face) on dozens of them. The idea
was to show students how gum looks when printed on different surfaces.
Unfortunately the students drew a conclusion from the demonstration that
I hadn't intended: since the print looked most tonally perfect on the
Arches HP, they thought that meant that Arches HP was the "best" paper
for gum printing. In vain, I tried to tell them that the reason the
print looked the best on that paper was because that was the paper I
used routinely; my process was calibrated to print perfectly on that
paper. Other papers would print just as well, if one standardized their
process to fit those papers. (The speed of papers and paper/size
combinations, for instance, varies considerably, so a faster or slower
paper isn't going to print as nicely using the time chosen for an
in-between paper.)

My point here is to emphasize what I said before, that there's not just
one perfect paper; many papers will print gum well. If you print two
papers side by side and the "parameters" you are using suit one of the
papers better than the other, then that paper will look like it prints
gum better than the other paper. But if you'd standardized the printing
method to suit the second paper and printed the two side by side, then
the second paper would look like it prints better than the first. So
side by side comparisons aren't always useful in drawing conclusions
about the suitability of a paper for gum printing. The example I
showed earlier in the thread, comparing how Arches bright white prints
for me vs Fabriano Artistico Extra White, is a good example. My
longstanding process just happens to work well without adjustment on
Arches bright white. But as I think I said somewhere on that page, if I
had calibrated my process to print well on the Fabriano, then the
Fabriano would look better in the comparison. Sorry, I've gone on too
long about this, but I think it's an important point.

> I think I have already rejected Rives BFK after my Internet gleanings
> and the fact that it is listed as a printmaking paper a process which
> has, I believe, little to do with repeated water immersion.

I rejected BFK way back, because it wouldn't print well for me unsized,
and more importantly because I didn't care for its surface texture, but
I wouldn't reject it for reasons related to wet strength or wet
integrity; as Dave says and as I said earlier, that's simply not a
problem with BFK.

> The only tests I'm likely to be able to do whilst in the UK of GB and NI
> are shrinkage, colour, texture and strength after immersion. I'll try
> and get some samples ordered in advance.

Samples, that's great. You've already anticipated everything I said
> One question. Fabriano Artistico Extra White Hot Press is available in
> both 300gsm and 640 gsm. Bearing in mind your point with regard to
> different weights having differing characteristics, which one did you
> use in your prints/tests?

The 300 g/m^2. I should add, if it wasn't clear before, that I haven't
done a lot of testing with this paper, for several reasons: First,
because Daniel Smith (my usual supplier) for some reason doesn't offer
this paper by the sheet, and I wasn't about to buy a 10-sheet pack (they
do now offer it in 5-sheet packs) just to try it out. Second, because it
took me a while to realize that though the paper was marketed as
Fabriano Uno ("Nothing has changed but the name!"), it wasn't Fabriano
Uno at all. I had printed on Fabriano Uno for a year or so but never
loved it, and was looking for another paper that pleased me better.
(I've never found a paper that I've loved as much as I loved the old
Arches HP). Third, once I did get my hands on a couple sheets of it, I
just didn't like the paper. (It's that subjective thing I was talking
about earlier). I don't like its blotterlike quality; to my eye it
swallows and damps down color saturation and brightness in much the same
way that Fabriano Uno did; in that sense they are very similar to my
eye. But my opinions about this as well as many other things are rather
unusual, and probably shouldn't be taken too much to heart; not all gum
printers see the fine distinctions between papers that I do, and no
doubt they are happier for it.
Received on Thu Oct 27 10:43:32 2005

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