Friday, May 21, 2010

May 17, 2010 - Beverly Hills Adult School Copperplate Class #7

Today DeAnn demonstrated gilding with composition leaf and provided different metallic materials for us to experiment with She also had us write Copperplate with Pelikan 4001 red ink mixed with powder gum Arabic – it’s like “writing with rubies.”

Recipe for Pelikan 4001 ink:  combine Pelikan 4001 red ink with 1 heaping teaspoon of gum Arabic powder. Mix together in a larger bottle (like a small jam jar) and shake/mix every once in a while for several days until the gum Arabic is completely dissolved. Pelikan 4001 ink is really for fountain pens so it’s very thin. But mixed with gum Arabic powder, it becomes thick enough for Copperplate. Liquid gum Arabic doesn’t work in this case. Be aware that dry gum Arabic doesn’t always mix well with all inks so this recipe may not always result in Copperplate-writable ink.

Metallic effect with red "rubies" ink: Using the EF66 nib, write a large decorative capital with the Pelikan 4001 red ink on pergamenata. While the ink is still wet, shake some Schmincke gold powder onto it. Once it dries, you can brush off the excess.

Metallic Decoration:  DeAnn brought a variety of metallic and glitzy accessories for us to try. She demonstrated gilding with composition leaf. In the Middle Ages, illumination was done on real vellum (calf’s skin) with real gesso, but we won’t be going into that here. Last semester, the project was an illuminated manuscript page in the style of the Middle Ages/Renaissance using real gold leaf and gesso made from Sobo glue and water. Detailed instructions are here and here.

The types of metallics that DeAnn provided:  real gold leaf (from Easy Leaf), composition metal leaf, foils, Staedtler Hot Foil Pen, metallic powders from Schmincke and Jacquard, metallic rub on pastes, metallic colored pencils, and even rhinestones that were sticky-backed.

Demonstration of gilding with composition metal leaf:  The handout was a decorative “S” for us to trace onto the pergamenata piece of paper. DeAnn suggested using a different type of metallic on the leaves and letter. She “painted” a leaf with Sobo glue and let dry. Then she breathed on it to re-hydrate it, then applied the composition metal leaf. She pressed it firmly, then burnished it with a Grifhold burnisher using the spoon tip.

Flourishing Capitals: last week’s handout was a sampler of various styles of capitals. DeAnn’s goal is for us to be able to recognize the flourishes versus the basic shape of the capital letter.
The basic flourish shapes are Oval, Figure 8, and Circle. Remember: flourishes are BIG. Flourishes looke more interesting if they contrast in size and axis. Concentric circles/ovals aren’t that interesting. As long as the basic shape of the letter looks good and the scale of the flourish is appropriate (i.e. big), the capital will look good.

Pergamenata notes: because the pergamenata paper is so smooth, it’s difficult to create a contrast between the thicks and thins. The problem is achieving the hairline thins. So to create a better contrast, press harder on the downstrokes so that they’re thicker in comparison. The general consensus is that the best nibs for writing on pergamenata are the Gillot 303 and 1068.

Project ideas: for your decorative capital, one idea is to make the letter metallic. Then outline the “box” that contains the letter whose flourishes extend beyond the “box” and paint the various areas with different colors in watercolors for a stained glass effect.
Besides the decorative capital you can illuminate or color other capitals within the text. You can also include decorative elements along the border, like flowers and vines.

HOMEWORK: continue practicing your project text on the small guideline. If you’re ready, create the layout for your project using the project template on the cotton comp paper.

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