Sticky flow

filtering the varnish

filtering the varnish

icky sticky

icky sticky

baking plate

baking plate

Varnishing plates is the least favourite part of the wet plate process. The varnish is made of alcohol, gum sandarac(sap from a tree in South Africa) and lavendel oil. It needs filtering a few times. There are always lots of dirt in the gum sandarac and sometimes little bugs remaining on the cotton. I can’t stand the smell of lavendel and the sticky varnish gets everywhere. This time I tried something new and heated the plates in the oven instead of with the gas-burner. Must say it worked pretty well and the plates didn’t catch fire as they sometimes do. After 15 tintypes the whole house reeked of lavendel and alcohol. I must remember to put the bottle of varnish back downstairs so that my husband doesn’t confuse it with his mead. The mead has gone from a chalky yellow (looks exactly like fresh collodion) to a beautiful clear pale yellow. It should be around 13% alcohol when done. He’s bottled it and now we just need to wait for a year or so before drinking it…

oranges, raisins and honey

oranges, raisins and honey

first bottles of mead!

first bottles of mead!

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