The Chinese Gallery at the British Museum has reopened, with more and new exhibits. The BM will include and rotate different types of objects such as paintings, prints and textiles. The gallery also introduces new research and contemporary objects such as a newly-made lacquer box. It includes a digital version of the rarely-displayed Admonitions Scroll.
You may remember Roger Law as one of the creators of Spitting Image. He is now a ceramicist, working with the craftsmen of Jingdezhen in China making beautiful celadon pots covered in writhing sea creatures.
From Satire to Ceramics covers both aspects of his career at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts near Norwich. On until 3 April 2018.
His website includes his characterful drawings of Chinese craftsmen, and there is an interesting documentary from the BBC, with more drawings in what looks like Chinese ink.
Caroline Deane is the wife of CBPS Honorary President Qu Leilei. Her oil painting has been influenced by her interest in Chinese art, and she has a new exhibition, Layers of Time, at G&C Gallery in Royal Tunbridge Wells, 17 November 2017 – 7 January 2018.
Qu Leilei, one of our Honorary Presidents, has a new exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 15 April 2018. The theme is A Chinese Artist in Britain, and the exhibition will feature a range of his work, including his wonderful Hands and Collages.
Clearly, many people find traditional wet mounting unappealing. In the past we have heard of some bad experiences with framers trying to dry-mount Chinese paintings, as they don’t understand how the paper behaves. Encouragingly, there now seem to be some practical alternatives.
A query emailed to our website about silicone release paper generated some good information – thanks to all teachers who contributed.
The links here were found by searching the internet, so I do not claim they are the best or definitive.
Note that the longevity of these processes is not known, and over time there may be deterioration or colour change. One of the photographic sites I found mentioned the disadvantages of dry mounting:
Dry mounting is not a reversible process. This means if at any stage your artwork is damaged and requires restoration, it is extremely difficult for conservators to remove it from its backing and carry out treatment.
At some point, all dry mounted artworks will probably begin to delaminate and bubble. If stored in a stable, dry environment at room temperature, it may be 10-20 years before evidence of this begins to emerge. However, if stored in a humid environment with fluctuating temperatures, these negative effects may begin to occur after just 2-5 years.
The glue film may eventually deteriorate, causing staining and general discolouration
Silicone Release Paper
Judy M: I’ve been using something similar which you iron on, it’s very good. It’s dry mount from Framers equipment or Hot press or Dry Tac, I get mine from Framers. All on line.
NOTE: The release paper used in the videos is single-sided. Double-sided release paper is available, but would leave the supporting paper between the painting and the backing. So make sure you buy the type you want.
Here are demonstrations of using silicone release paper by Henry Li: onto xuan, & onto other paper.
Joan N: I have tried using freezer paper, which is probably fairly similar [to silicone release paper]. I have had limited success in with this but need to practice and experiment more as I think it is my technique rather than the intended method.
NOTE: Freezer paper seems to be designed for use with fabric applique.
I have been mounting silk onto rice paper with a glue stick for some time as I had bubbles and creases with wallpaper paste. If you apply the glue stick evenly to the backing paper, then put the silk on with a bone folder to smooth it, lastly iron the back, it will come out very well. The iron melts the glue stick so it spreads evenly. This is very good for book covers as PVA glue might show through fabric covers.
The glue stick I used was a BIC but have used others for making cards – to stick small paintings on to hand made cards – Pritt stick, any brand but not the blue coloured ones. Note that the glue is likely to degrade, to this technique is not suitable for your best paintings.
The iron is moderately hot, so it won’t burn the silk.
This technique is good for cards.
I have now started this technique with paper paintings but so far just small unimportant ones. I have trouble mounting brown grass paper paintings as the paper is so fragile, so may try this glue stick method for them too.
Also I have used pelmet vilene, which you iron on to curtains. This stiffens fabric for book covers, instead of using cardboard.
The University of Cambridge have digitised the famous Ten Bamboo Studio Manual of Painting and Calligraphy. This is an early printed manual of paintings, with lots of appealing compositions. You can click through the pages (remember the books are “backwards” compared to western order).
Image 220 is the persimmon and tangerines used to illustrate the Wikipedia article on the manual’s publisher Hu Zhengyan. It also appears in a video about the Huntington’s copy of the Manual, with more information in their blog.
Old ink will spoil the “brilliance” of the fresh ink. Also, any dried particles with be gritty, and could damage the smooth grinding surface. The ink has a lot of glue in, and it settles in the pores of the grinding stone as it dries, becoming very difficult to remove. Do not allow the ink to dry out on your inkstone: good inkstones have a lid to help with this.
“Wash” means rinse with clear water. The water can be cold or just warm. Just warm helps dissolve the glue in the ink. Hot or very cold water could crack a stone which is at room temperature. There are many places in China called inkstone-washing pond, e.g. as used by the poet Su Dongpo.
Rub the ink off with your fingers, an old painting brush, soft cloth or sponge, or good quality kitchen towel. Do not use scratchy materials or scourers, as these will damage the surface of the stone. You can let the stone dry by itself. If the ink won’t come off, leave the stone soaking in just warm water with a little washing up liquid, then drain and rinse thoroughly.