Showing posts with label fish leather. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fish leather. Show all posts

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Fish Skin - Tanned Fish Skin - Fish Parchment

The images below are a selection of those in Franz Weisse's 1938 article "Fischhaut - Fischleder - Fischpergament" published in Das deutsche Buchbinderhandwerk, Vol 2, Nr 9, 1938. Das deutsche Buchbinderhandwerk was created by a consolidation of all the bookbinding trade publications under the National Socialists to make it easier to control the message... As such nationalistic tones and appeals were integral, and the trades were of national importance.

The article recaps many of the themes around using fish in binding from austerity measures, to self-reliance (no foreign sources), but also to the unique and beautiful variations of the raw material. It references the long history of using fish in Ainu and Siberian (polar) cultures, before discussing the material properties of fish skin, common misconceptions (Oh, the stench...!), and processes for preserving the skin from tanning to making parchment. Martini's article from 1919 is cited, but not by name, neither is there (as expected) a mention of Ernst Collins' articles just 4 years earlier in the bookbinding trade journals. Much of the article describes the most common/suitable for binding species; salmon, pollack, wolf fish, cod, lingcod, flounder, shark, and eel among others. Woven in are also tips for working and descriptions of the aesthetic properties, and suitable uses.

Weisse also speaks to books bound in fish that were shown in exhibits, clearly rejecting many decorative and metaphoric applications that to him are easy outs and too simplistic – not worthy of the infinite variations and natural characteristics of the skins. As an example, don't use flounder on a binding about the Alps... "We can (must) do better!" He further states that to make use of the material as second nature as that of Morocco or calf vellum it must be more than just a temporal fashion statement... It is our "duty" as German workers in the skilled trades, in this case bookbinding. Apropos exhibits, the Archiv fuer Buchgewerbe recapped a 1918 exhibition of Franz Martini's bindings made from Klippfish (stock fisch, salted cod) parchment at the Deutschen Kulturmuseum für Buch und Schrift in Leipzig. Also mentioned were the tests undertaken on Martini's fish parchment.

Note the size of the fish in these images, most caught closer to their markets as factory-scale fishing was not as common then. Compare with the fishes we see now. A clear sign of over-fishing.

Skinning the fish. Note, the fillet is placed skin down and skinned
that way, kind of like paring leather.

The remaining bits of flesh and scales are removed in a process similar 
to de-hairing mammalian skins prior to making parchment or tanning.


The skins are stretched unto boards with nails.

After tanning, the skins are stretched out on boards to dry.


The finished fish leathers in the hands of the Meister who is examining it 
for aesthetics and usefulness. "What binding is this most appropriate for...?"




Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Making Parchment From Fish Skin (The Webinar)

Now available on YouTube, the recording from today's lunchtime webinar. 109ish viewers while live, not bad. Actually a great turnout. Good questions in live feed as well. Regrettably those were not captured with the video. I did sort of repeat and respond to the questions in the recording though.

Enjoy, and please consider trying this yourself, as well as entering the Bind-O-Rama. The entry form is now online, deadline of June 30 to enter. Hope to see what you've made from fish skin. Early shares are showing a good number of happy nascent piscatorial binders.




To learn more about making parchment from fish, see:
"Fips" and His Eels: Fish Skin in Bookbinding
Book Arts arts du livre Canada (Vol 10., Nr. 2, 2019)

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter Salmon

Neighbor, "the fish monger's wife," continues to provide salmon skins, and never one to look a gift fish in the mouth, I graciously accept. As a bonus, she's gotten very good at skinning – less work for me." So, ...

Into the dish detergent it goes. Remember, always cold water with
unscented detergent.



Soaking up the Easter Egg dye. Only reasons I used this was that
it was in the house and free. Dyes are beet/radish based, and required
added water and a bit of vinegar. No idea about long-term effect of either.

The skin was soaked in the dye overnight and really seemed to soak it in.
But, whoever scaled the fish, not the "fish monger's wife," did a hack job
on the half nearest to the head.

A mostly nice day, so I used the power of the sun to dry.
Push pins go into coroplast, the kind used for yard signs like our solar panels.
These are FREE, ubiquitous, and also great for practicing endbands.

Woah! Where did the striping come from? Is this a rare tiger salmon (Behavior
similar to tiger musky). Whatever it is, I like it.

Here it is backlit.

The "cause" of the striping, or at least a clue. The wet skin had stuck to the cheap
paper I layed it on to dry. Interesting!

Just got a text and neighbor will be dropping off another skin in the next day or so. Yippee!

Part of the reason I tried the Easter egg dye was that I was inspired by Amber Sandy, Anishinaabe and indigenous science advocate who has a terrific Instagram feed in which she describes how she tans skins of all kinds, also teaching at Reyerson University. A great resource! The dye was inspired by her mention of using fabric dye (Rit or Dylon). She also mentioned a great source for fish skins - sushi restaurants! Will definitely have to ask my favorite place, fingers crossed it survives this COVID19 world. Toronto area binders check it out, and perhaps catch a hands-on workshop / invite her to teach.


To learn more about making parchment from fish, see:
"Fips" and His Eels: Fish Skin in Bookbinding
Book Arts arts du livre Canada (Vol 10., Nr. 2, 2019)

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Fishy Sunprints

Did something different today, made sunprints from my pieces of fish parchment. Love how the texture of the skins came through.

Artic Char

Sea bass & lane snapper

Lane snapper, sea bass, and Arctic char

Mackerel, Arctic char, and haddock

Haddock, sea bass, and lane snapper

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Old Man and the Sea

We saw Fritz Otto helping turn that delicious mackerel into parchment. Here the binding one of the half-skins was used on, Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea. The other half goes in the skin archive. Below the binding I just completed.

Here the top-edge Fritz Otto made. Acrylics in paste with some stippling for waves...
The book is still in-process, and the colored flyleaf will be tipped to the next leaf
just along the fore-edge as one of the last steps.

The mackerel skin was backed with gray Morike paper and cut out to match the
contours of the skin. The mackerel is a standing for the swordfish in the story.
Scars/distressed areas on the skin represent the  life and death struggle of fish and Santiago.

The book was sewn on three thongs of shark leather, a metaphor
for the sharks that ate Santiago's swordfish...

This is a Dorfner-style open-joint binding. The parchment
was not covered or trimmed back, so shows the contours
of the fish. Doublure and flyleaf Cave Paper "layered indigo day."

The boards were covered in Pergamena dyed goat
parchment, title stamped in graphite foil. 

Here the completed binding. Shark thong ends capped by weathered
wood representing Santiago's boat. 

To learn more about making parchment from fish, see:
"Fips" and His Eels: Fish Skin in Bookbinding
Book Arts arts du livre Canada (Vol 10., Nr. 2, 2019)

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Lunch Instead of Fish Skin Binding

Back before Christmas, Fritz Otto was on vacation in Greece (aka Wegmans like any good fisherman) and caught a bunch of sardines. Finally, a right-sized fish he could work from start to finish for his own binding(s).


Today, pulled them out of the freezer to practice his flaying skills...

Catch of the day.

Filleting was the easy part.

The Peachey lifting knife was great!

Filleting was the easy part, but alas, the skin was too thin to get off. He also tried pulling it off of the intact fish but that was even less successful. Alas..., nothing left to do but make lunch for himself.

Just fried in a little olive oil with pepper. Didn't need more for a tasty meal.

Rülps! (How Germans Burp) That was delicious!
So, defeated in making parchment, successful in preparing a meal.

To learn more about making parchment from fish, see
"Fips" and His Eels: Fish Skin in Bookbinding
Book Arts arts du livre Canada (Vol 10., Nr. 2, 2019)

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Fish skin fashion: a dying craft by China's 'mermaid descendants'

A small minority along China’s ‘Black Dragon’ river have a long history with the water. According to legend, the Hezhen people descend from mermaids, but now some of their unique traits, such as their signature fish skin suits, are at risk of vanishing. Michelle Hennessy reports.



You Wenfeng, 68, an ethnic Hezhen woman,
poses with her fishskin clothes at her studio in Tongjiang



Ethnic Hezhen You Wenfeng's Chinese Han student learns
how to make clothes from fish skin at You's studio in Tongjiang.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Fish Parchment and Leather Swatches

A sampler of all the fish I've made parchment from.

From top: mackerel, sea bass, lane snapper, haddock, Arctic char, Atlantic salmon.
Underbellies are lighter than tops.

Note: except for the mackerel, the skins are highly translucent.


And below, examples of commercially available tanned fish skins.
See here for more.
From the top: eel, suede trout, glazed salmon, suede salmon, glazed carp.


Book Arts arts du livre Canada (Vol 10., Nr. 2, 2019)

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Holy Mackerel!

Fritz Otto's latest adventure. As usual, he only gets to do the dirty, thankless tasks, never the whole thing. At least the eatin' was good...

Making sure the implements of destruction are all ready.
I got sent out of the room, and didn't get to watch the de-skinning or stretching...


Inspecting the skins. Brrr, it's cold in the basement studio this time of year.

Oh, great... I get to scrape away the nasty, left-over fleshy stuff... Gross!

Detail of the grossness. The Peachey lifting knife is great for scraping this stuff off.
Some day I better get my own fish to skin, prepare, eat, and use on a binding.
Better be worth it.

 Broiled with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and pine nuts – it was wonderful!

Book Arts arts du livre Canada (Vol 10., Nr. 2, 2019)

Friday, October 18, 2019

Salmon Parchment Tests at UICB

A short video of the testing process on my salmon parchment conducted recently by Tim Barrett at the University of Iowa Center for the Book Research and Production Paper Facility.

So, how did the tests go? Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Bookbinding Materials wrote, "salmon skin is strong. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly strong it is."




TESTING REPORT
University of Iowa Center for the Book
Research and Production Paper Facility
October 17, 2019

P. Verheyen provided samples of goat skin parchment and fish skin parchment, both of about the same thickness.  An MIT Folding Endurance tester and an Elmendorf Tear tester were used to gather the reported data, although both are designed for evaluating the mechanical properties of paper, not parchment.  The two related TAPPI standard procedures used were T 511 and T 414.  The following important exceptions to the specified steps occurred during the tests:

  1. None of the specimens were pre-conditioned or conditioned nor was testing done in a temperature and humidity controlled room. RH varied between 30 and 42%.
  2. Only two strips of both parchments were subjected to fold tests and 13mm wide strips were tested rather than the specified 15mm wide strips. 
  3. One ply of each parchment was used for the tear testing. 
  4. Three fish skin parchment tear tests were attempted and all were disqualified because the required tears across the full width of the specimen were not possible due to the strength of the material.
Below the test results:

Material
Test
Tests
Final Averages
Fish Parchment
Fold
2
79,338 folds

Tear
3, Disqualified
NA (Did not tear across full width due to strength)
Goat Parchment
Fold
2
12,015 folds

Tear
6
784 gr/cm
UICB Flax Papercase Paper,
circa 1992
Fold
60
4501 folds[1]

Tear
60
828 gr/cm[2]
[1] Average from test strips cut in both the chainline and the cross-chainline directions.
[2] Average from test strips cut in both the chainline and the cross-chainline directions.


1: https://www.tappi.org/content/SARG/T511.pdf http://grayhall.co.uk/BeloitResearch/tappi/t414.pdf

Book Arts arts du livre Canada (Vol 10., Nr. 2, 2019)

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Latest Salmon Parchment

Used my last piece of salmon parchment to have it tested for fold and tear strength, so had to make a new one. Note the translucency! So glad Wegman's has salmon fillets in a family size. Good to have Fritz Otto around to hold it up for photography...




Book Arts arts du livre Canada (Vol 10., Nr. 2, 2019)

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Fritz Otto Goes Fishing 2

In the last installment, Fritz Otto Goes Fishing, our hero prepared the fish skin for making parchment, but also trying something new, egg tanning. We're following Nienke Hoogvliet's instructions from her book Fish LeatherReady? Here we go! Fritz Otto is glad @bookbinderbarbie left copies of her notes.

Taking one of the haddock and stretching it out to make parchment.
We'll compare with the egg tanned haddock.

All right, that's done. Now to let it dry.

 

Now, on to the egg tanning!


Why do I always get the grunt work? Beat the egg, oil, detergent mixture until smooth.

Next, tamp the haddock and salmon so that they are not dripping wet.

At least I didn't have to drop the skins into the egg/oil
mixture to then massage it into the skins until warm.
That looked totally gross!

But, wait! I get roll up the slimy skins so that they can sit for about 15 minutes.

Now we hang them up to drip-dry.
When dry, they'll still feel oily/slippery, and we'll need to massage and work them to
loosen up the fibers in the skin. We do that for a week.


Here they are a week later. Time to rinse in soapy water until they
feel soft and not oily/slippery.

Rinse, and rinse some more...

Let drip-dry. We tamped with a paper towel again, too.

Then, dump them into a more dilute mixture, work in, and set out to dry.

We smoothed them out to dry on a piece of plexi-glass,
scale-side down. That gives them a shinier appearance.
When they were dryish, we worked them back and forth
over a smooth dowel, always with the flesh side to the dowel.
Finally, we worked it like leather before paring.

Take out the pins and liberate the haddock parchment. Next we'll compare.

Comparing the haddocks – parchment at the bottom, egg tanned at top.
The egg tanned is like parchment, but much shiner and more
transparent. Not sure how we feel about that... The whitish patches are
fleshy stuff that will need to be scrapped off with a scalpel later.
The haddock is much more thin-skinned than the salmon.

See what I mean by transparent and shiny?

And here the egg tanned salmon. Less translucent than the salmon parchment that was made
 when @bookbinderbarbie was here over a month ago. Softer too, but not supple like leather.
Still. looks and feels really interesting. Wonder if we'll make anything with it?

 

Click here to see where this fishy adventure started.

Book Arts arts du livre Canada (Vol 10., Nr. 2, 2019)