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Re: BOOK_ARTS-L Digest - 17 Oct 1999 to 18 Oct 1999

In a message dated 10/18/99 11:06:33 PM, you wrote:

<<Sorry to add to this, but what does milk do to flax fibre? >>

- A non-scientific answer: the milk goes bad and the micro-organisms start to
work on the flax... that's the retting process.  By using milk we can speed
it up and shortne the retting time (although it does smell awful).  The
result is similar to using old linens as opposed to new ones - where the
older worn down material make s a softer more supple paper...My guess is that
the retting works on the hemicellulose (which is what causes the brittleness
and translucency in flax & linen papers...and that is why with retting flax
papers are more opaque and less brittle.... I have alot of studio experience
with this but actually do not have a complete scientific explanation...hope
this suffices...
Robbin Ami Silverberg
Dobbin Mill, NY

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