Thursday, January 16, 2014

Black Paper

 Permanence and Durability
dyeing paper black

Dyeing paper black isn’t easy.  You can get many shades of gray during the process. 
Dyeing paper black
I’ve noticed that ex-library books from the late 1950s, like the one I used for these black papers, work really well.  Printed in London in 1959, the pages appeared (felt and sounded) to be made from cotton, which would explain why they accepted the black dye so well.
discarded library books
the water in my town has a neutral pH of 7.1
Another reason I like to use pages from discarded library books is because of the research on the acidity of books in libraries by chemist and paper conservator, William Barrow.

Former director of the W. J. Barrow Research Laboratory in Virginia, Mr. Barrow noticed that pages in library books were deteriorating and becoming brittle due to acidity, and he published a paper about his findings in the 1930s.  He is considered a pioneer of library and archives conservation and is credited with introducing the field of conservation to paper deacidification through alkalization.  (Increasing the pH of acid paper by depositing an alkaline agent in the fibers to neutralize whatever acid is already there and to stop further decay.)  

I believe the paper and the inks we use should be just as permanent and durable as the images we work so hard to create.  

For information on paper preservation and conservation:

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