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The supports chapter contains the most detailed technical information ever put together on how to use parchment. Couple this with historical information, medieval Islamic paper coating practices, and an extensive troubleshooting section and it becomes clear this book is a must have for anyone interested in parchment or paper. Pumice Stone
as seen in Lapis & Gold

EXCERPT: Parchment Working Properties: General Characteristics Parchment is a wonderfully sexy support which is a joy to work with. The skin rises to caress the pen and kiss the brush. The paint rests pleasingly on the surface. This surprising quality is a result of the skin melting slightly with the application of water creating a film of gelatin. This gelatin is not passive. It actually mixes with the paint, becoming an active participant in the painting. Parchment is alive. It is your creative partner. But, it has its pros and cons. On the positive side, parchment gives all the things we just discussed. On the negative side, as with any happy relationship, its boundaries must be respected. Because it is so sensitive to water, wet techniques will cause it to swell and cockle (wrinkle or pucker). This means large areas of color need to be carefully laid down with small dry brushstrokes instead of sweeping wet washes. If you are a daredevil, try applying an extra dark wash to a large area and blotting immediately to dry the surface.

A PARTIAL LIST OF TOPICS COVERED: The history of parchment, paper & papyrus Pounces Preparing parchment Mounting parchment The characteristics of the two sides of parchment

What is parchment Historical usage of parchment Differences in parchment made from different types of animals Considerations when purchasing parchment Medieval Islamic paper sizing (ahar) The spiritual meaning of supports in artwork

Unlocking the Secrets of Medieval Painters and Illuminators

By Sybil Archibald & Karen Gorst


Did you ever wonder about the history of ink, something so fundamental to our culture? This chapter has a complete history of ink from ancient Egypt through today, recipes for many types of traditional inks including oak gall, black walnut and lamp black, and techniques for using ink sticks. It also delves into the spirituality of inkmaking as a meditative process both during the medieval period in Europe and the Middle East and today in Asia.

EXCERPT: In the Middle Ages, a scribe could always be identified by the inky black stains on his or her hands. They are inescapable and also plague or bless contemporary scribes depending on your perspective! Ink is so much a part of our contemporary lives that it is almost like air, we dont notice it at all. This page you are reading is covered with it [unless you are reading this on the internet!], so is your cereal box, and the junk mail overflowing your mailbox. Each of these inks has a particular character, a distinct smell, texture and look. Many different formulations of ink are used today, including some which were popular during the Middles Ages. What is an ink really? How is it made and used? In this chapter we will explore these issues.

Black Walnut
as seen in Lapis & Gold

A PARTIAL LIST OF INK RECIPES IN THE INK CHAPTER: Iron Gall (Multiple variations) Lamp Black (From multiple sources) Black Walnut (Multiple variations) Grinding and using ink sticks


The Calligraphy Chapter in Lapis and Gold is an exciting new take on an ancient and venerable art form. Beginners will find the basics to get started and experts will have the opportunity look at their art from new perspectives. Technique, calligraphy as meditation and letter mysticism in Christianity, Islam and Judaism, and much more are covered.

EXCERPT: The Spirituality of Calligraphy The history of calligraphy is rich in spirituality. Some form of spirituality pervades all calligraphic traditions. Spirituality can be present in the act of writing and also in the meanings given to letterforms. Countries with a strong Buddhist influence such as China and Japan have a deep sense of spirituality associated with the act of lettering. Other cultures connected with the religions of the book, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, have highly developed traditions of letter mysticism which see individual letterforms as vessels for Divine light.


Analyzing a Manuscript Page Basic Calligraphy Vocabulary Carolingian & Rotunda Hands Choosing Tools such as Pens and Nibs Methods for Practicing Spacing Layout Using light boxes Setting up a workspace Troubleshooting The Spirituality of Calligraphy

Letter Mysticism in the Jewish, Islamic & Christian Traditions 16th Century Italian Rotunda
as seen in Lapis & Gold


Never before has such an extensive collection of recipes been put together for manuscript gilding. Raised gessoes and flat mordants and tack and breath techniques are all represented. Each recipe has been copiously documented and tested and the troubleshooting section is extensive. There is also an in depth exploration of the spiritual symbolism of gilding and gold.

The Background of Gilding The Story of Gilding Gold Leaf in Illumination What Artists Treatises say about Gilding Gessoes and Mordants The Spiritual Symbolism of Gilding Lighting The Symbolic Meaning of Gold Spirituality and Technique Technical Information What is Gold Leaf Techniques The Proper Conditions for Gilding How to Gild Breath Techniques Flat Gilding Semi-Raised and Raised Gilding Tack Techniques Flat Gilding Raised Gilding

Burnishing Flat Gilding Raised Gilding Chysography (Painting with Shell Gold and Other Metal Paints) Tooling and Stamping Raised Mordant Techniques Soft Paper Techniques Recipes

Recipes for Mordants and Gessoes Flat Gilding Recipes Breath Technique: Gilders Garlic, Parchment Size, Gilders Malt, Aloe, Fish Glue, PVA Tack Technique: Gum Ammoniac Semi-Raised Recipes Breath Technique: Gum Ammoniac with Fish Glue, Fish Glue, PVA Raised Gilding Recipes Breath Technique: Aloe B, Aloe C, Traditional Gesso Sottile (Four Variations) Tack Technique: LeBegues Fabric and Leather Gesso Other Recipes Slaked Plaster Shell Metal Paint Troubleshooting Glossary

Some Flat & Raised Gilding ExamplesS

as seen in Lapis & GoldS


Recipes for making over 50 pigments from scratch, lightfastness tests, pigment interaction tests and much more including the relationship between early alchemists and color recipe development and the alchemical spiritual meaning behind the different chemical processes.

EXCERPT: Madder Root Imagine saffron aroma, stewing plants, and the scent of fresh squid. Hear stone grinding against stone, leaves being crushed and the excited chatter of apprentices learning their next task. Breathe in the bitter aloe flavor and taste it at the back of your throat. See stones of brilliant green and deep blue, herbs hanging upside-down to dry, mussel shells filled with puddles of rich red and clear yellow paint, and over against the wall a row of desks with projects in various states of completion. Need a specific greenish yellow for your new painting? You grab the bunch of dried weld hanging on the wall and put it to boil.

This is the spectacular world available to the artist who knows traditional recipes and techniques. For a greenish yellow, weld might be the perfect choice. But for a bright transparent yellow, saffron would clearly shine. The expanded variety of colors with their individual hues, textures, and working properties can give artists the technical edge to fulfill their personal visions. Making pigments also creates such an intimate relationship to colors that the very notion of what blue is, for example, can be transformed as the artist becomes connected to the essence of blue in a new and exciting way. This intimacy is at a far removed from going to an art supply store to buy a tube of paint. With limited color choices, homogenized working properties and the x-factor, invisible extenders and additives, an artist can never be sure what a paint manufacturer is selling. In the plastic shopping bag the paint tubes knock together with a dull thud. It is like buying a carton of milk, instead of milking a cow. The scents, the textures and the beauty of the farm are gone.

We are living in a time of great revival in traditional methods and materials. Although tube paints are the norm in art supply stores, lately it has become noticeably easier to find the raw materials for traditional paints. By combining these ancient techniques with recent research, an artist has more power and possibility to create than ever before in the history of art.

PARTIAL LIST OF PIGMENT RECIPES INCLUDED IN THE PIGMENT CHAPTER: Almond Shells, Azurite, Azurite/Malachite, Bistre, Bone Black, Bone White, Brazilwood, Burnt Ocher, Burnt Sienna, Cabbage, Chalks, Chrysocolla, Cinnabar, Clays, Cochineal, Flower Petals, Fustic, Hematite, Honey Green, Jasper, Indigo, Ivory Black, Kermes, Lac, Lapis Lazuli, Leather, Leeks, Linseed Oil, Logwood, Madder, Malachite, Massicot, Peach Pit Grey, Red Lead, Rue, Salt Green, Safflower, Saffron, Sap Green, Silver Blue, Soap Green, Spinach, Tigers Eye, Turmeric, Verdigris, Vermillion, Vine Black, Vivianite, Weld, Woad, White Lead

Alchemist's Symbol by Sybil Archibald

Unlocking the Secrets of Medieval Painters and Illuminators

By Sybil Archibald & Karen Gorst


The Pigment Almanac is an exciting and innovative resource for contemporary artists, conservators and art historians covering more than 96 pigment of historical and contemporary significance. Each meticulously researched entry has detailed and well documented historical and technical information along with hands-on, real life experiences and tips for using a pigment.


Contemporary Names: Saffron yellow, saffron. Ancient, Medieval, and Obsolete Names: Saffron yellow, saffron. Nomenclature: From the Arabic zafaran meaning yellow.[1] Entomological / Chemistry / Botanical Name: Crocus sativus, dyestuff: crocetin; other sources of crocetin: the fruit of the cape jasmine (Gardenia florida L.); the leaves of Gunari or Indian mahogany (Cedrela toona Roxb.); the flowers of the tree of sorrow (Nyctanthes abor-tristis L.). Color Index Name and Number: NY 6. First Known Written Documentation: Ancient: The Papyrus Ebens (1550 BCE),[2] Dioscorides (1st century), Leyden Papyrus X (3rd century); Medieval: Lucca MS (c. 600). First Use / Last Use: In use from ancient times / 19th century. (Very limited use today.)

History: Saffron is collected from the fall-blooming Crocus sativus, which is quite similar in appearance to the Crocus vernis which announces the first bloom of spring each year. Care must be taken not to mistake these two flowers. The Crocus sativus has purple or white flowers with orange-red stigmas. These stigmas are harvested and dried to become saffron. SSaffron Threads

Saffron has a rich and ancient history. It was use by the ancient Sumerians as a perfume and a medicine. [3] It has also been used since ancient times as a dye and to color and flavor foods. Saffron was grown in Europe during the medieval period. In England, a town at the center of the English saffron harvest changed its name from Chipping Walden to Saffron Walden.[4] S.

Audemar (late 13th to 14th centuries) mentions that it grew in France as well but notes that it was of poor quality.[5]

Medieval artists used saffron extensively in recipes to imitate gold leafing. It was also commonly mixed with blues to get a wider range of green tones. However, because saffron was so fugitive, it sometimes bleached out completely leaving blue grass or trees behind.[6] Many, many verdigris recipes suggest tempering the verdigris with saffron to achieve a warmer green tone. It has been proven that the dyestuff in saffron, crocetin, has protective anti-oxidative properties. Although it has not been proven whether these protective properties were known in medieval Europe, they were known to medieval Islamic lands. A 16th century Persian manuscript recommends adding saffron to verdigris to protect from verdigriss acidic nature.[7] Most recipes for saffron paint were extremely simple, instructing the artist to soak the saffron strands overnight in glaire. Saffrons use as a pigment effectively ended with the advent of cheaper lightfast synthetics.

Technical Information Studio Notes: Great for glazing and details, but because of its fugitive nature, it not recommended for use outside of books except as an antioxidant. Store only in a dry form, liquid saffron will darken over time. (See Pigment Recipes: Solution.)

Source: Plant. Color Range: Warm orange to bright yellow. Compatibility with Other Pigments: Excellent. Best color in glaire. (See Binder Interaction Chart in Paintmaking Chapter.) Opacity: Very low. Lightfastness: Low, especially precipitated on chalk. (See Lightfastness Chart in Pigment Chapter. ) Fastness to Media: Excellent. Toxicity: Considered non-toxic and used for centuries in foods.


Alizarin crimson, Azurite, Bister, Black walnut, Blue & Green Bice, Bone black, Bone white, Brazilwood, Brown Earths, Cadmium red, Cadmium Yellow, Celendine, Cerulean blue, Chrome

Green, Chrysocolla, Cinnabar, Cinquasia Gold, Cobalt blue, Cobalt green, Cobalt turquoise, Cobalt violet, Cochineal, Dioxine Violet, Dragon's blood, Eggshell, Egyptian blue, Emerald green, Folium, Fustic, Gamboge, Green Earths, Hematite, Indian yellow, Indigo, Irgazine red, Iris green, Ivory Black, Kermes, Lac, Lady's bedstraw, Lamp black, Lead tin yellow, Leaf green, Logwood, Madder, Malachite, Manganese Blue, Manganese violet, Masticot, Medieval Copper Blues, Naples Yellow, Natural Chalk, Orchil, Orpiment, Pearl luster, Phthalo blue, Phthalo green, Prussian blue, Quinacridone red, Realgar, Red earths, Red lead. Sap green, Sepia, Siennas, Silver blue, Smalt, Titanium white, Turmeric, Ultramarine-Natural & Synthetic, Umbers, Vandyke Brown, Verdigris, Vermillion, Vine black, Viridian green, Vivianite, Weld, White lead, Woad, Yellow Earths, Zinc white


The paintmaking chapter is an incredible resource for those who would like to make paints from scratch. Focusing on the binders gum arabic, glaire, distemper and egg tempera, detailed technical information, histories, recipes and troubleshooting is presented and an easily understandable and entertaining way. This chapter will give contemporary artists back the power and longevity taken away by the industrialized manufacturing of paints.

Mulling Dragon's Blood Resin

as seen in Lapis & Gold

EXCERPT: Preparing Pigments for Making Paint

Before making paint, it helps to create a dispersion, essentially a thoroughly mixed solution of pigment and water. By mixing a pigment with water before adding it to a binder, any difficulties can be effectively dealt with without creating lasting repercussions. For example, if a pigment such as lamp black resists mixing with water, it may be stirred in water with enough oxgall to mix. If the same pigment was mixed directly with a binder like glaire, chances are copious amounts of air bubbles will be created. In the same situation if the pigment is mixed with egg tempera, not only might air bubbles be produced, but the binder may dry before it can be adequately made into the paint! Creating a dispersion will also help an artist determine if a pigment is too grainy. Dispersions may be used in the form of a thick paste, or in a more liquid form, about the consistency of heavy cream. Pre-made pigment dispersions can be purchased, but these are usually of a much thinner consistency, e.g. like skim milk, and are not recommended for making paints with the binders described in this chapter.

PARTIAL LIST OF PAINT BINDERS COVERED: Gums Glaire Distemper from parchment size (rotten & fresh) Egg tempera Also recipes for European & Islamic oxgall