Laboratory on decorated papers with “glue” technique

The laboraty aims to teach a simple and ancient paper decoration technique. This procedure allows you to draw colorful optical and geometric motifs on the paper. The materials that will be used are sheets of pre-cut smooth white and colored Fabriano drawing paper, non-toxic and water-soluble upholstery glue, acrylics. The tools that will be used are brushes and cardboard “combs”.

History

This technique spread in Europe between the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, therefore before the marbled papers. The glue papers spread mainly in Italy and Germany and were produced almost everywhere, both by specialized craftsmen and by bookbinders, since the technique did not involve large equipment or excessive difficulties in execution.

Prepared a flour glue of the right consistency (not too thick, not too liquid), it was mixed with pigments such as indigo, lacquers, earths, carbon black. Once a homogeneous mixture was obtained, it was spread evenly on the sheet with a brush. The glue, keeping the pigment in suspension on the sheet without making it absorb by the paper, was then moved and worked with different methods and tools of which the most typical is the cardboard comb which, taking away part of the glue, brings out the light of the underlying sheet. Another widely used system was to spread the colored mixture on two sheets at the same time, make them match, rub the back with the hands exerting a fair pressure and then separate them: once separated they had characteristic veins. With the same technique but using only one sheet folded lengthwise, the same streaks were obtained but symmetrical and vaguely reminiscent of Rorschach’s spots.

Another way was to spread the mixture on the sheet and then “remove” it with an absorbent object, such as a sponge or rag. But there are also variations in which drops of water are allowed to slide on the prepared sheet: the water solubilizes the glue and lets the white of the paper shine through. Glue papers lend themselves to infinite variations and there are many types, colors, motifs and designs.

Laboratory duration: 8 hours

 

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