Just a few weeks ago I finally decided to buy a double rake or marbling comb so I could create a proper bouquet pattern. Last week I carved out some time to set up the trays and try it out. Here’s what it looks like:
First I’ll show you the results of my play and then talk about it.
I had fun playing with the bouquet pattern in various sizes but I was limited in what I could do by the size of the comb in my tray. There wasn’t much leeway for the comb to go back and forth across the tray as it would hit the sides pretty quickly. I just now realized I should have tried it the other direction in the tray. Maybe next time! I like the results on a fine-combed nonpareil pattern, but not over a wider nonpareil, like the red and yellow piece in the middle above. The spikes of the ” wrong way” bouquet (raked from the bottom up instead of the top down) are interesting, but not spectacular. I tried “tying” the bouquet by running a wide rake horizontally across the pattern. I liked the contrast of a straight line against the multiple curves of the bouquet, but it only worked with some of the color combinations. I’ll definitely have to play a bit more. Over all, I don’t think it’s going to become a favorite pattern. I like the way it looks, but it’s rather boring to make, a little like the nonpareil. Except with the nonpareil there’s always the challenge of getting it perfect because any minor flaw, like a caught hair or paint fleck, really stands out. The nonpareil can also go in so many different directions: It’s just the beginning point of so many patterns. I thought when I started this session, I would only do bouquet patterns, but as you can see from the photos, other patterns kept creeping in. Certain color combinations just demanded a different treatment!
Had an interesting thing happen near the end of the session. I was using the eyedropper to apply the paint and one of the colors suddenly went spiky on me. This usually means something is contaminated. I usually find contamination in the carrageenan and it is normally confined to one area of the tray, but this was definitely the dark blue paint. I think it was Prussian Blue. Instead of stopping and trashing that tray, I kept on going. The next colors dropped in perfect circles. I wish I’d taken a picture – perfect circles except for the dark blue spikes. As soon as I started working with the stylus, the contamination spread and all the colors went crazy. I played with it and printed it anyway. I skimmed the carrageenan well and produced a perfect nonpareil. The next tray after that was rubbish! You can see the sequence of papers on the line from right to left. I was working with smaller paper so there were two sheets laid down per tray.
Something like this always tells me it’s time to stop. The only solution to bad contamination is to throw out the size or the paint and start again. Neither can last forever!