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Re: [BKARTS] Lapis and such



Dear Paul:

Allow me to complement you on your pamphlet Vellum Preparation: History  and
Technique which I enjoyed reading.

However, I must beg to differ with you on Karen Gorst's Oak Gall Ink recipe
as it was handed out at the show you reviewed.  This is an extremely simple
and basic recipe.

It is as follows:

3 parts ground oak galls
2 parts ferrous sulfate
1 part powdered gum  arabic
Rinsed egg shells
Distilled water

This is a very standard proportional ratio for oak gall ink  recipes (3:2:1).
In fact if I recall correctly, Jack Thompson uses the same  proportions
(minus the eggshell) in his recipe in Manuscript  Inks.  Of course, making oak gall
ink is a tremendously complex task,  masked by a relatively simple recipe.
Different varieties of oak galls vary  widely in their tannin contents, e.g.
Aleppo galls, from Syria,  have the highest concentrations of gall-tannic acids
with 50 - 70%. Other galls  vary widely from Turkish galls with 35% to German
galls with 10-15%. This is not  even to mention the various kinds of tannins
and which are most suited to oak  gall ink. (The 3:2:1 recipe is assuming a gall
of high tannin content such as  the Aleppo.) Also, wet and dry ferrous
sulfate have different volumes, some people prefer to use copper  sulfate instead,
and many medieval recipes vary in their requirement to  ferment or not ferment
the galls.  All these issues effect the  ultimate outcome of the ink and
whether it will become corrosive over time. That  being said, this, within basic
limits, is a standard recipe for oak gall  ink. I for one have used this recipe
extensively and have taught this  recipe to numerous students who have had
excellent results.

As for Karen not using oak gall ink in the show, I'm sure that  providing a
recipe as background information about medieval arts doesn't in  anyway
indicate that all the pieces are made using that material. Lamp black the  ink which
she primarily used, although some may argue is less interesting, is  perfectly
in period and was used during the Middle Ages.

In Lapis & Gold, we cover both lamp black ink and  oak gall ink along with
numerous variations on both.  I look forward to  hearing your review when the
time comes.

Best,

Sybil Archibald


In a message dated 7/16/2005 6:40:32 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
paul.werner@xxxxxxx writes:

Delighted to hear it,  especially since a year and a half ago I
reviewed a recipe published by Ms.  Gorst in the context of a show of
her work. As I pointed out at the time  (WOID #X-28), Ms. Gorst's
interpretation of a simple recipe for gall ink  was unworkable, and she
herself had not used gall ink for any of the works  on display. Now I
find that Ms. Archibald and Ms. Gorst, whose work I have  followed for
over twenty years, are fluent translators of Medieval Arabic  and
Latin! Clearly, apologies are in order.

I would be glad and  honored to review this new, important work - in
fact, I feel obligated to  do so. Or perhaps, since Ms. Archibald holds
my friend Jack Thompson in  such high esteem, she will forward a
reviewer's copy to him - a positive  endorsement from a reputable
scholar always does wonders for a book. I, for  one, will be awaiting
his fair-minded evaluation with bated  breath.

> I respectfully ask you to reserve judgment on whether  Lapis &  Gold
is
> groundbreaking until you see it! The book  is about 350 pages  long
and includes
> recipes (from both Latin  & Arabic treatises) that have  never been
published
>  before.
> If not, I will humbly accept your   judgment.


Paul T Werner, New  York
http://theorangepress.com

WOID: A journal of visual  language
THE ORANGE PRESS, publishing "Vellum Preparation: History  and
Technique"
DRAGONSBLOOD AND ASHES, a project to research and  practice the
techniques of the medieval scribe





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