|A lovely sheet of paper|
So I was delighted to be walking down a rainy street in Florence, hood over my head, looking down, when a sideways glance revealed Il Papiro on the other side of the dark street. We popped in, shook off like a couple of dogs, and discovered a treasure of Florentine paper art.
Fine papers have always lined the insides of bound books. In Madrid, in the Royal Palace, I had the fortune of seeing an exhibit, on its last day, of the royal bindings. (Previous blog post: RoyalPalace) Some of those books even had marbleized edges.
The saleswoman in Rome said we should ask to see the same demonstration by the people in Florence as they are so much more skilled. I asked the young lady to show Derek how it was done. She was much better and produced a lovely sheet of paper, uniform, with brighter more consistent colors.
Basically, there is a vat of wallpaper paste a bit larger than the sheet of paper. In olden times, they used a gel made from a type of sphagnum moss grown in Ireland, which now is too expensive. Today that moss is used to create binding gels for food, like ice cream. That's why commercial ice cream remains so smooth even if it melts and is refrozen. Refrozen home-made ice cream forms sharp crystals, ruining its texture (but not the much better flavor!)
|The board has pins at regular intervals,|
allowing the paint to be "cut" into a lightning
bolt pattern. With a stick, she drew curves
making a flowered pattern in the other half.
Like Pietre Dure, mentioned in the previous post, marbleizing paper is an art practiced in Florence and northern Italy by the world's best artists. With the advent of polychrome printing, the art of creating marbled papers by hand was almost lost. Il Papiro is a company with a workshop employing excellent craftsmen, and it has small stores in several cities in Italy plus more scattered around the world. Their website, IlPapiro, is worth a visit, and if you live near on of their stores, treat yourself to a demonstration!