U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: daniel smith gum

Re: daniel smith gum


Thanks for this post!

Much appreciated...


----- Original Message ----- From: "Katharine Thayer" <kthayer@pacifier.com>
To: <alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca>
Sent: Sunday, September 27, 2009 9:45 PM
Subject: Re: daniel smith gum

Paul, like all answers in gum, "it depends"....

I don't care for the standard (dark) gum, mostly because I mix pigment/gum mixes by eye and I need the color and darkness of the gum not to obscure the color of the mixture. I also once believed someone's assertion that the dark color of the darker gums sullies the brightness of the colors in the finished print, but when I tested that assertiont, it turned out not to be so. But I did find that the darker gums,including the DS standard gum, tended to print with fewer steps (more contrasty) than the lighter gums.

I've been using the Daniel Smith premium gum exclusively for three- four years now, and I have a couple of issues with it. The pigment/ gum mixtures I make with it seem to quickly become more viscous and before long, dry up altogether. This never happened with the old Formulary gum; I have mixtures of little-used colors made with it that I've had mixed for years and years, that are just as fresh as the day I mixed them. Generally my mixes made with this Daniel Smith premium gum are unusable within 6 months or so. This is a problem.

The gum also has a different quality than what I consider quality gum arabic, a brittleness that I saw when I brushed out unpigmented gum on a piece of paper and let it dry. Normal gum arabic, brushedout in a thin coat, dries smooth with a slight gloss; the DS premium gum is brittle when dry, and cracks or flakes (shatters, actually, is a better word to describe what it looks like) into shiny bits like tiny pieces of cellophane that no longer adhere to the paper. I've never seen this happen with the pigment mixed in, only with the plain gum. I don't know what this means, but a description I read somewhere of a slightly different type of gum, (not acacia senegal but a different variety) including that it's more brittle than acacia senegal, for example, sounded so much like the behavior of this gum that I began to suspect that this gum may be at least a mixture of acacia senegal and this other type of gum. I don't remember the particulars, like what variety of acacia this other gum is from, but I do remember that I wrote a post or two about it at the time, which should be found somewhere in the archives. I called Daniel Smith and asked, but no one could (or would) tell me anything. They make their own watercolor paint, and one might suppose that the gum arabic that they sell would be the same as the gum arabic that they use in their watercolor paint, and you would think that the people who make the paint would be able to answer that question, what variety of acacia their gum arabic comes from, but maybe they consider it a trade secret or something. At any rate, I've recently mixed up a batch of the gum they sell as powder, and while I haven't actually printed with it yet, just mixing it and working with it, feeling its character, it *feels* more like "gum" to me. We'll see. I'm really quite tired of having to toss out dried up cannisters of mixed gum/igment; it's a huge waste of pigment.

As to the Formulary, I don't know what they're selling now. I used to love their gum but when they started selling something resembling crankcase oil for their premium gum, I bailed out and haven't bought gum from them since. But since gum, like wine, changes from season to season, an observation made some time back is essentially useless now.

On Sep 25, 2009, at 3:36 PM, Paul Viapiano wrote:

Daniel Smith gum...standard or premium light?

Is there a big difference between the two and is it much different than the Formulary gum?

Just curious...