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Paper Sizing

One of my goals for my WAP residency
at Tiger Lily Press is to try my hand
at various processes that I generally wouldn’t
attempt in my spare time.

Yesterday was my first try at sizing
Japanese washi. Up until recently I’ve
always purchased paper that is sized when it’s made, it’s
much more convenient that way.
Size is nothing more than a liquid solution of animal hide glue
and alum. When the paper is coated, the size seals
the paper fibers and restricts it from
absorbing too much moisture when printing.



There are a lot of recipes online for size, but I
decided to use April Vollmer’s recipe from
her new mokuhanga book. Two parts glue, one part alum
mixed in one quart of water. That’s it in the jar, along with the
brush I used. Not happy with that brush, it’s too soft.
It clumped together very quickly and was
difficult to use.



This was the first (of many) newsprint sheets
that I practiced on to get a feel for it.
It’s tricky, not too much sizing should be used
and no overlapping marks between brushstrokes!



The washi I sized today is Kozo-Shi
and is relatively thin at 39 gsm. I over dampened
the first sheet, but improved somewhat
by the third sheet.
Hanging space for drying is limited, so I was only able
to size five sheets. That’s printmaking friend Jan
about to get somewhat blocked in
by my drying washi!



All five sheets done! I was pleased that
the paper didn’t buckle and pucker much.
But then today, in my own space it was a different story…



With a lot of size left over, I continued on
with a different paper called Seichosen (45 gsm).
This paper buckled quite a bit..hmm, not sure
if this will flatten out if I press it, or when I print on it?



Oops, this is what not to do! One corner was overly
saturated and took quite a long time to dry.

The next step is to allow the paper to age, at least a
few days before printing. From what I’ve read, the longer the
paper rests after sizing, the better it will be when printing on it.

Whether I did a decent job or not won’t be known
until I print on this paper. There could be problems
depending on the density of the size, the application and
a host of other irritating mokuhanga issues.
Printing trials coming soon!

Posted by Rick on September 27, 2015

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