Re: A few gum things
Randall Webb, Terry King and I all started on alt processes together at
soem point in the late 1970s, sitting in 3 seats together in a lecture
about gum printing by an elderly advertising photographer called
Steinbock who put his first small gum print into an RPS exhibition in
the 1930s and continued doing minor variations on the same (and getting
it in the RPS show) for many years.
We all went home and tried it out (I gave Terry a 1930s jar of
bichromate - surplus stock from the college where I was working), though
I had the sense to use a nice random grain halftoned neg that was easily
developed using a shower hose (rather like using an inkjet printed neg,
but this was before inkjets.) Terry worked with paper negs and very
short exposures compared to mine, producing delicate images that slid
off the paper if you blinked at them and he learnt practically to
control them - and to get fine results by multiple printing.
Terry mentions Steinbock on
and later down on the
page he says:
"One of the joys of the gum process is that there is no one right way of
doing it. The method you establish will reflect your own personality and
way of working. But do not try it if you are tense or in a bad mood."
His methods - including the use of Gloy which he describes on that page
- worked for him, though of course if using film rather than paper negs
much shorter exposures are needed. With a simple mercury vapour lamp
around a couple of feet from the film some exposures were less than 90s
when I was experimenting with multiple prints.
Gloy works, and can produce fine continuous tone gum prints, and Terry
taught many people over the years to make gum prints using it. However
it may not fit with the ways that some people are used to working.
Incidentally the page was written quite a while ago, and the list of
suppliers is rather out of date.
Peter Marshall - Photographer, Writer: NUJ
My London Diary http://mylondondiary.co.uk/
London's Industrial Heritage: http://petermarshallphotos.co.uk/
The Buildings of London etc: http://londonphotographs.co.uk/
My first ever gum print, (1996?), was made using Gloy gum, (not to be
confused with Gloy paste), a one coat gum and on unsized cheap paper -
http://www.johnbrewerphotography.com/portfolio/People/23.html, how's that
for luck! I think that Gloy gum now is a different recipe to the original
stuff I used, but it got me hooked on gum printing. The gloy gum method was
from 'Spirit of Salts' by Webb and Reed, (not the best book in the world),
and was partly serialised in Amateur Photographer which was where I
initially read it. 'Spirit of Salts' was published under the title of
'Alternative Photographic Process' in the US.
From: Judy Seigel [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 08 April 2008 05:29
Subject: Re: A few gum things
On Mon, 7 Apr 2008, Diana Bloomfield wrote:
I then went to my local art store, and bought some gesso. The man whoowns
the store (who is an artist) asked me what I was doing. I guess I looked
confused. When I told him, he gave me a bottle of Gamblin PVA, and toldme I
should try that. He said he'd give it to me if I promised to come backand
tell him how it worked, compared to the gesso. The PVA was pretty diluteto
begin with, and I didn't know if I should dilute it more-- but I tried it
(diluted), and it actually worked very well. I think I tried a secondlayer,
and it didn't work so well, so I'm thinking I shouldn't have diluted the
initial coating, or perhaps one has to coat between layers when using PVA?
I'm not sure, but I'm going to go back and try it again. If anybody has
used it and knows, I'd love to know more about how I should be using it
(diluted or not). I did like it very much. I also tried the gesso, butI
think I didn't dilute that enough. The print looked great for about 30
seconds, and then the whole thing washed off. I want to go back and trythat
again. I much preferred the PVA, though-- both the consistency and theease
of using it-- goes on very smoothly.
Old timers on the list may remember the days when Terry King extolled the
virtues of Gloy Gum as medium for gum printing (tho not as I recall as a
size). Gloy (marketed as a kind of library paste) was popular generally
with English gummists. According to Mike Ware, Gloy is PVA with some
added ingredients (like maybe emulsifiers or odorizers). I hve some here
but can't get the cap off to smell it..
I tried it as medium (instead of gum arabic) and hated it -- could never
get it to do a continuous tone... Menwhile, AFAIK if it's used as a size
it would still need hardening because it's water soluble. (Which could be
why your 2nd coat didn't work so well, Diana !)