A large part of the work we do here at our studio in Pettycur is experiment. I’ve always had the attitude that just because Method A is the accepted way to achieve a particular result, it does not have to be the only way. Even if Method X produces a wonky result, it’s far more fun to discover why Method A is used than to simply follow instruction blindly.
In pursuit of Method X, there will occasionally be spectacularly brilliant results.
Traditionally, marbled paper is made by first soaking paper in an alum (aluminium sulphate) solution, letting it dry and pressing it flat. Only when the paper is dry do you get to the fun part which involves laying water-soluble inks across a bath of carrageenan. That’s nice. Reading the small print, you discover not only that alum is not a pleasant substance to be around but would you want a child chewing on paper soaked in this? Also, marbled papers made in this way are only 90% waterproof… it sort of limits the uses you can put the paper to.
Let’s just say that I don’t do marbled paper that way. Clue: oil floats on water. Use oil-based inks instead and simply handle the untreated paper very carefully. We have some fantastic inks lying around thanks to our letterpress and so with a weekend of tinkering, we’ve started to produce sheets like the one above which Rose has already nabbed for making one of her handbound journals.
We’ll be offering marbled paper as giftwrap on our website very soon.