Glossary of Terms - Stampington & Company

Glossary of Terms

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Absorbent Ground: A chalk ground that absorbs oil and is used in oil painting to achieve a matte effect and speed up drying.

Acid-free: Papers that are free of acid at the time of their manufacture, with a pH ranging from 7.0 to 9.0. Acid-free materials can become acidic over time, leading to the weakening of cellulose in papers, causing discoloration and deterioration. For permanence, paper fibers must be as pure cellulose as possible.

Acid-sized Paper: Paper manufactured under acid conditions with no surface buffering capacity, with a pH below 7 (typically 4.0 to 6.5).

Acidity: The state of a substance that contains acid. Paper may become acidic from the ingredients used in its manufacture, storage methods, usage, or environmental conditions.

Acid Migration: The transfe of acid from an acidic material to a less acidic or neutral-pH material. Occurs when neutral materials are exposed to atmospheric pollutants (air, water, artist's hands) or when two paper materials come in contact. Acid can also migrate from adhesives, boards, endpapers, protective tissues, paper covers, acidic art supplies, and memorabilia.

Acrylic: A water-soluble paint made from pigments and a plastic binder.

Acrylic Solution: A solution of acrylic resin in a volatile solvent. Paints made with an acrylic solution binder resemble oil paints more than those made with acrylic emulsion binders.

Additive Color: Color that results from the mixture of two or more colored lights; the visual blending of separate spots of transmitted colored light.

Adhesive: Bonding agent that artists use to affixed one item to another. Depending on the weight of the item being affixed, artists will make a selection from the assortment of adhesives available. Some popular adhesive choices the glue stick, double-sided tape, foam tape, hot glue, rubber cement, spray adhesive, PVA, PPA, Yes! Glue, and E6000. Related Shoppe products: Glue Dots, Gel Medium.

Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop: A popular software program for editing photographs and graphics. Photoshop has all kinds of tools for manipulating images, including cropping, re-sizing, rotating, drawing, erasing and colorizing. Available in most computer stores and Magazine issues with related articles: Legacy Autumn 2003, "Cyber Art," page 61.

Alkaline: A chemical used to neutralize acids as they form within or migrate to paper. Note: High-alkaline papers are no better than high-acid papers.

Altered Book: Collaging, stamping, embellishing, and otherwise altering a found book to reflect an artistic idea or narrative.

Alum: An astringent crystalline substance used in rosin sizing to hold paper fibers together; responsible for introducing acid into the paper.

Angle (of pen): The angle at which the pen meets the paper in relation to the writing line.

Archival: Refers to materials that meet certain criteria for permanence such as lignin-free, pH neutral, alkaline-buffered, stable in light, etc.

Armenian bole: Red-brown pigment used to add color to gesso.

Art Journaling: A diary that chronicles the ideas, adventures and thoughts of an artist. Pages within an art journal include words and pictures and even embellishments that help the artist creatively convey their multi-faceted thoughts. Related Shoppe products: Art Journaling and True Colors.

Art Quilt: An art object that incorporates principles found in traditional quilting, along with mixed-media techniques such as embellishing with found objects, art stamping, and image transferring. Related Shoppe products: Art Quilting Studio and Material Visions – A Gallery of Miniature Art Quilts.

Art Stamping: Art stamping is the process of creating artwork with rubber stamps. It can be done on assorted mediums – fabric, metal, wood, and glass all work well with art stamping. Paper, however is the foundation from which art stamping emerged. Related Shoppe products: The Stampers' Sampler and Take Ten.

Artist Trading Cards (ATCs): Tiny works of original art that are traded among artists. Traders often keep their collection of ATCs in binders filled with clear vinyl pages, nine pockets per page. Each card measures approximately  2½" x 3½".

Ascender: The part of a lower-case letter which extends above the x-height.

Assemblage: (as-am-blazh) Three-Dimensional objects glued to a surface. Sometimes used in conjunction with collage and montage.



Base Line: The line on which the main part of a letter (excluding ascender and descender) rests.

Bast Fibers: Fibers commonly used in Japanese papermaking, including flax, gampi, hemp, jute, kozo and mitsumata.

Batik: A method of dyeing a fabric by which the parts of the fabric not intended to be dyed are covered with removable wax, or a design created using this method.

Beading: Ornamentation with beads. Also called beadwork.

Beater: Used to separate the fibers in paper preparation; includes wood mallets, professional mechanical beaters, or kitchen blenders (caution: they chop rather than beat the pulp).

Binder: The nonvolatile adhesive liquid portion of a paint that attaches pigment particles and the paint film as a whole to the support.

Binding: To enclose and fasten (a book or other printed material) between covers.

Bleed/Bleeding: A feathery effect that occurs when too much ink or paint is absorbed by the paper. In artwork, the effect of a dark color seeping through a lighter color to the surface.

Blending: Smoothing the edges of two colors together so that they have a smooth gradation where they meet.

BMP: Acronym for bit map, an image made up of dots or pixels. The downside of BMPs: When you scale the image, that is make it larger or smaller, it typically becomes distorted. Magazine issues with related articles: Legacy Winter 2004, "Cyber Art," page 75.

Body Color: Opaque paint, such as gouache, which has the covering power to obliterate underlying color.

Body Height: see X-height.

Bone Folder: A flat piece of bone or plastic, round at one end, pointed at the other. Used for scoring and folding paper.

Bookmaking: Binding or otherwise creating books.

Brayer: A small rubber "rolling pin" used to flatten papers, smooth surfaces, or apply paints or inks.

Broad-edged Nib: In calligraphy, a pen nib which produces thick and thin strokes by writing at a constant angle, not by pressure.

Brushwork: The characteristic way each artist brushes paint onto a support.

Buffering: Neutralizing acids in paper by adding an alkaline chemical such as calcium carbonate or magnesium carbonate into the paper pulp. The buffer protects the paper from acid and environmental pollutants but is not meant to absorb large amounts of acid.

Burnish: To polish to a glossy finish. In crafting, to burnish means to rub smooth with a bone folder or brayer.



Caliper: The thickness of paper expressed in thousandths of an inch.

Calligraphy: The art of producing beautiful or elegant handwriting. Artists devote years to refine their skills and utilize specialty nibs and inks to achieve the various styles of calligraphy. Related Shoppe products: "Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy", "Calligraphy Masterclass", Randall Hasson Art Print.

Capital: Upper-case letter, also known as a majuscule.

Canvas: Closely woven cloth used as a support for paintings.

Card Making: Creating greeting cards, either by hand or en masse.

Casein: Colored pigment with a milk-based binder. Usually opaque, unless applied in a thin glaze. Produces a flat, water-resistant film.

CD-ROM: Short for Compact Disc-Read Only Memory. CD-ROMs can hold a lot of information–the equivalent of about 300,000 pages of text–which makes them ideal for sharing genealogy indexes, clip art and other large files. You can't erase or add to the information on CD-ROMs, which is why they're called read-only.

Cellulose: The chief constituent of the cell walls in plants. All plants contain tissue that, when properly processed, will yield cellulose. Cotton is 100 percent cellulose; high alpha wood pulp can be 93 percent cellulose.

Chroma: The relative intensity or purity of a hue when compared to grayness or lack of hue.

Chemical Stability: A desirable characteristic of conservation or preservation materials. The ability to resist chemical degradation over time and/or upon exposure to light, pollutants, and inferior storage.

Clip Art: Graphic images you can download or copy from the Internet or from a CD-ROM disc (or literally clip the art from a book, magazine or other print medium. If you’re not adept at drawing or painting, clip art is an easy way to illustrate your scrapbooks, journals and other crafts.

Cold Pressed: A paper with slight surface texture produced by pressing the finished sheet between cold cylinders.

Collage: Papers and found objects such ticket stubs and ephemera glued to a flat surface. Related Shoppe products: Collage Sheets, Collage Cards.

Complementary Color: Each primary color (red, blue, yellow) has a complementary (opposite) color made by mixing the other two (red and green, for example).

Composition: The arrangement of elements by an artist in a painting or drawing.

Cotton Linters: Fibers that adhere to cottonseed after ginning. Used as raw material to produce low-shrinkage pulp for cotton-fiber papers; the term also refers to such preprocessed pulp ideal for paper casting. Cotton linters cannot produce a paper with the strength of cotton rag.

Couching - Pronounced koo-ching. The process of transferring a newly formed sheet of paper onto a prepared bed of woven material so that the water can be pressed out.

Crop: To trim the unwanted parts of an image. You can do this manually, with the actual image in your hand and a pair of scissors or an X-Acto knife, or you can do it on your computer with a scanned image and an image editing program such as Adobe Photoshop. Either way, you’re simply cutting out what you don’t want in a photo or graphic.

Crystal Parchment: see Glassine.

Cylinder Machine: A papermaking machine in which a wire-covered cylinder rotates partly submerged in a vat containing dilute paper stock. The sheet is formed on the outside of the wire as the water drains, and lifted from the wire by a felt.


Deckle - In papermaking, the removable frame which rests on top of the mold to hold the pulp and define the edge of the sheet.

Deckle Frame: The removable wood frame that rests on or is hinged to the edges of the wire mold. It prevents the pulp from running off the mold and defines the edges of the sheet of handmade paper.

Deckle Edge: The natural feathery edge of paper; the result of the run-off of wet pulp when making handmade paper. The edges can be simulated with machinemade paper by "cutting" it with a stream of water while still wet. Handmade paper has four deckle edges; machinemade papers usually have two.

Decollage: To tear down a collaged surface.

Decoupage: The technique of decorating a surface with cutouts, as of paper, or a creation produced by this technique. Related Shoppe product: Decoupage Paper Collection.

Descender: The part of a lower-case letter which descends below the baseline.

Designer Colors: Best-quality gouache paints, often used in commercial art.

Design: To create or execute in an artistic or highly skilled manner.

De-acidify: The process of removing acid from paper, documents and other items to prevent deterioration. There are a variety of chemicals on the market for de-acidifying documents, such as Archival Mist. Before using them, test on a small corner of the document first. Do not use on photographs. Related Shoppe products: Archival Mist. Magazine issues with related articles: Legacy Spring 2004, page 96.

Digital: An image composed of pixels or dots, the smallest units found on monitors.

Dimensional Stability: The degree to which a paper will maintain its size and shape when subjected to changes in moisture content and relative humidity.

Diluents: Liquids, such as turpentine, used to dilute oil paint. The diluent for water-based media is water.

Distemper: A blend of glue, chalk, and water-based paint, used mostly for murals and posters.

Distress: Aging papers, embellishments, and ephemera to make it look worn.

Doll Making: Creating dolls. Related Shoppe products: Art Doll Quarterly, The Art Doll Chronicles, and Prims.

DPI: Measures the resolution of a scanner, printer, or image; the more dots (or pixels) per inch, the sharper the image. Images used for magazines and other print media typically have a high resolution, such as 300 dpi, versus a low-resolution image on the Internet of 72 DPI.

Ductus: In calligraphy, the direction of strokes in letterforms.

Durability: The degree to which paper retains its original qualities with use. See Permanence.



Embossing Gun: A professional heat tool that directs hot air to a precise area. The forced heat melts embossing powder, creating a slightly raised surface on the design.

Embossing Powder: Available in a multitude of colors and granulations, Fine Detail, Dimensional Enamel or Regular granulation, embossing powder is a fast melting powder that delivers rich colors and solid surface bonding. Sprinkle onto a wet, inked surface, and then apply direct heat to melt, creating a slightly raised design.

Emulsion: A liquid in which small droplets of one liquid are immiscible in, but thoroughly and evenly dispersed throughout, a second liquid. e.g. Acrylic Emulsion.

Encaustic: Literally, to burn in. A painting technique in which the binder is melted wax.

Encaustic Painting: Painting by means of wax with which the colors are combined, and which is afterwards fused with hot irons, thus fixing the colors.

Ephemera: Ephemera is anything short-lived, but also refers to printed matter of passing interest. Artists may use ephemera, such as vintage postcards, in their collages or other artwork.

Epoxy: Two resins that, when mixed together, harden to form a strong bond.

Exemplar: An alphabet in a lettering style; can be decorative or used for study.

Eyelets: A metal ring designed to reinforce such a hole; a grommet.



Faux Postage: see Postoid.

Felt: The woven blanket used as a surface for transferring the newly formed sheet of paper from the mold to the couching pad.

Felt Finish (or Felt Mark): Surface characteristics of paper formed at the wet end of a paper machine, using woven wool or synthetic felts with distinctive patterns to create a similar texture in the finish sheets.

Felt Side: The top side of the paper, usually recommended for best printing results.

Fiber: A slender, elongated, threadlike object or structure – something that provides substance or texture. Related Shoppe products: Fantastic Fibers.

Filler: A generic term to describe the non-oxidizing clays or minerals added to the pulp at the beater stage to improve paper density.

Film: A thin coating or layer of paint, ink, etc.

Findings: Also known as "found objects" or "ephemera," findings are items that an artist encounters (either accidentally or purposefully) and collects for the intention of utilizing in future art projects. Related Shoppe products: Watch Findings & Faces.

Finishing: The cutting, sorting, trimming and packing of paper.

Fixative: A solution, usually of shellac and alcohol, sprayed onto drawings to prevent their smudging or crumbling off the support.

Fonts: Experimenting with different styles of typefaces , or fonts, can enliven your journals, scrapbook pages and other artwork. You can choose different fonts in your word processing program, order special fonts on CD-ROMs or download them off of the Internet.

Form: Abbreviation for letterform.

Formation: The arrangement of fibers in a sheet of paper; can be seen by holding it up to a light source.

Related Shoppe products: Fused Glass: glass heated in a kiln – a process dating back thousands of years. Magazine issues with related article(s): Legacy™ Spring 2004 – page 40, Somerset Studio® May/June 2004 – page 22, Belle Armoire® Spring 2004 – page 44

Fused Glass: Glass heated in a kiln, a process dating back thousands of years.



Gampi: A bast fiber from the rare gampi tree used in Japanese papermaking to yield a smooth, strong sheet.

Gel Medium: A protective acrylic liquid used as an adhesive for light- to middle-weight papers; * also used as a varnish for decoupage. Glossy and dull matte finishes are available. See polymer medium. Related Shoppe products: Golden Gel Medium. Magazine issues with related article(s): Somerset Studio® May/June 2004 page 66

Gesso: A white ground material for preparing rigid supports for painting made of a mixture of chalk, white pigment, and glue. Same name applied to acrylic bound chalk and pigment used on flexible supports as well as rigid.

GIF: Short for graphic interchange format. Usually pronounced "jiff," GIF is widely used to format images that appear on Web pages because they contain compressed data, so they'll download onto your computer faster. Because GIFs allow for only 256 colors, they're used to format illustrations rather than color photos, which require a larger palette.

Glair: Beaten egg white, used as a binding agent in gesso.

Glassine: A transparent, non-stick paper used in gilding; also known as Crystal Parchment. gm/m2: The metric measure of weight for artists' papers. It standardizes the weight in grams of a paper, one square meter of space, regardless of individual sheet formations. Check out our Glassine Envelopes.

Gilding - The application of gold foil to a surface.

Glassine: A transparent, nonstick paper used in gilding; also known as Crystal Parchment. gm/m2: the metric measure of weight for artists’ papers. It standardizes the weight in grams of a paper, one square meter of space, regardless of individual sheet formations.

Glaze: A very thin, transparent-colored paint applied over a previously painted surface to alter the appearance and color of the surface.

Gouache: (gwash) Opaque watercolor (a colored pigment with a gum binder and an opaque filler) used for illustrations.

Grain Direction: The direction in which a majority of the fibers lie in a finished sheet of paper.

Ground: Coating material, usually white, applied to a support to make it ready for painting.

Gum Ammoniac: A plant resin used to make sizing for gilding.

Gum Arabic: A plant resin used to bind color pigments. Improves paint flow and adds gloss.

Gum Sandarac: A plant resin used as a water repellent. Prevents excessive bleeding on absorbent papers.



Handmade Paper: Paper made by hand using a mold (a frame covered with a flat, rigid (Western) or flexible (Oriental) screen). The mold is covered by a flat frame called a deckle to contain the run-off of wet pulp, then dipped into a vat of wet pulp, shaken to distribute the fibers evenly, and drained of excess water. The wet mat of fibers remaining forms the sheet of paper, which is pressed and dried using various methods.

Heat Gun: A professional heat tool that directs hot air to a precise area. The forced heat melts embossing powder, creating a slightly raised surface on the design.

High Alpha Cellulose: A very pure form of wood pulp; it is thought to have the same longevity as cotton, linen, or other natural fiber.

Historiated Initial: A decorated capital letter which contains the elements of the text in pictorial form.

Hot Glue Sticks: Solid sticks of glue in clear, white, and colors (some with glitter), used with a hot glue gun. Magazine issues with related article(s): Take Ten Volume 2, pages 49-51

Hot Pressed: A smooth, glazed paper surface produced by pressing a finished sheet of paper through hot cylinders.

HTML: Short for Hyper Text Mark-up Language, a universal code used to create Web pages. Certain characters inserted between brackets determine the style and look of the page's text and graphics. For instance, <p> indicates a paragraph.



Ink-jet printers: These have become popular tools for artists because they're both inexpensive and handy. Ink-jet printers work by spraying ink onto a page; the resolution of the image is so good you can reproduce photographs and other images for use in crafts. But beware: The inks are not always waterproof or suitable for archival pieces. You may need to purchase special inks if you’re concerned about longevity. Magazine issues with related articles: Legacy Autumn 2003, "Cyber Art," page 61.

Inks: Colored pigment suspended in various soluble and insoluble binders. Inks tend not to be lightfast as other media.

Interference Pigment: Metal oxides or particles of mica which cause an iridescence or luster when mixed with acrylic paints.

Interlinear Space: The space between two lines of writing, usually measured by the x-height.



Japanese Screw Punch: A paper drill that can punch through multiple layers of paper, matboard, etc. anywhere on any size sheet by bearing down on the handle. To compensate for the lack of leverage you do get in a plier-like punch, the shaft of this screw punch rotates as you press, neatly slicing a trim hole.

Joss Paper: Gold and silver paper burned by the Chinese in worship and at funerals. Magazine issues with related article(s): Somerset Studio March/April 2004 pages 74-75

JPEG, JPG: Acronym for Joint Photographic Expert Group, a widely used format for files that contain photographs and other images. Digital photographs are often saved as JPEGs because the files are compressed, making it easy to transmit and store them. Magazine issues with related articles: Legacy Winter 2004, "Cyber Art," page 75.



Kinwashi: A translucent machine-made paper smooth on one side and textured on the other with straw-like fibers.

Kozo: The most common fiber used in Japanese papermaking, it comes from the mulberry tree. A long, tough fiber that produces strong, absorbent sheets.



Laid Paper: Paper with a grid pattern in the sheet resulting from the pulp resting against wires sewn to the papermaking mold screen. Laid lines are closely spaced while chain lines are farther apart and run parallel with the grain direction of the sheet. Important when folding papers, especially to bookbinders.

Layout: The arrangement of heading, text, illustration, and artwork on a page.

Letterform: The actual shape of a letter.

Ligatures: Linking strokes between letters.

Lightfastness: The speed at which a pigment or colored paper fades in sunlight.

Lignin: A component of the cell walls in plants. Its presence in paper may contribute to chemical degradation. It can be removed during manufacture; some consider lignin to be more harmful to photographs than acid.

Linter: see Cotton Linters.

Lower Case: Small letters, also known as minuscule.



Machinemade Paper: Paper made on a rapid running machine called a Fourdrinier, producing consistently uniform quantities of sheets or rolls.

Majuscule: Capital letters; upper-case.

Marble Paper: A technique of applying patterns, resembling marble textures, to paper.

Masking: A technique used to get the effect of stamped images behind each other, in front of another, or coming out of or going into one another.

Metal Embossing/Repoussage: Art or process of hammering out or pressing thin metal from the reverse side.

Metallic Pigments: Microscopic metal flakes with an aqueous binder suitable for artistic use. To slow tarnishing, coat with gel medium.

Methyl Cellulose (wallpaper paste): A pure adhesive which dries clear. Suitable for archival mounting.

Mica: Sheets of various colored or transparent mineral silicates often used in collage work that readily separate into very thin leaves. Related Shoppe products: Mica Tiles. Magazine issues with related article(s): Legacy Summer 2003 page 22

Minuscule: Small letters with ascenders and descenders; lower-case.

Mitsumata: A bast fiber used in Japanese papermaking that yields a soft, absorbent and lustrous quality.

Mixed-Media: The use of several media (such as paints, papers, rubber stamps, inks) to create a work of art. Related Shoppe products: Somerset Studio.

Moldmade (or Mouldmade) Paper: Paper made by slowly rotating a cylinder mold that simulates the hand-papermaking process. Fibers become more randomly intertwined than in machinemade papers, producing a stronger, more flexible sheet or roll.

Monoline: Letters made entirely with strokes of a single nib width; also known as skeleton letters.

Montage: A work of art incorporating photographs into a collage.

Mulberry Paper: see Kozo.

Muller: A flat-based ground-glass pestle for grinding gesso ingredients on a ground-glass slab.

Mylar: A protective clear polyester covering for photos and album pages; the highest quality material used for this purpose.



Nap: A slight surface texture of some writing surfaces.

Nib: The writing tip of a pen or quill, often used for calligraphy.



Opaque: A surface lacking clarity (cannot be seen through) which does not transmit light rays.

Ox-gall Liquid: Extender added sparingly to mixed paint to improve flow from the pen or brush.



Palette: The surface that a painter mixes his colors on. Also the range of colors used by an artist.

Papyrus (Papyri): A large aquatic plant of the sedge family; writing and artist material is made from its pithy inner stem. Papyrus is not paper, but the result of layering the pith in strips at right angles to each other, beating them, and allowing them to dry and bleach in the hot sun. Archival in nature, Egyptian papyri have been known to remain in a nearly pristine state for centuries. Magazine issues with related article(s): Somerset Studio March/April 2000 page 12

Parchment: Animal skins or linings stretched and prepared as writing/painting surface. Produces a smooth, buttery surface; the preferred (although expensive) material of many calligraphers.

Paste-up: Assemblage of cut-up elements of a piece of work, stuck onto paper to finalize a layout.

Patina: Originally the green brown encrustation on bronze, this now includes the natural effects of age or exposure on a surface.

Permanence: The degree to which paper resists deterioration or change to its properties over time. Permanence must also take into consideration storage and end-use conditions. Even a paper with a 4.0 acid pH will last indefinitely if stored under ideal conditions.

pH: A measure of the concentration of acidity or alkalinity in paper; the scale runs from 1 pH (very high acid content) through 7 pH (balanced, neutral) to 14 pH (very high alkaline content). Buffered papers range from 7 to 9 pH.

Photo Safe: A term used by manufacturers to indicate their products are safe for photos. There is no regulation of this term; it is held to be highly suspect.

Pigments: Particles with inherent color that can be mixed with adhesive binders to form paint.

Pixels: Short for picture elements, which make up digital images. Each pixel, or dot, in a digital image has a specific color and intensity level. The more pixels or dots per inch (dpi), the better the resolution. Magazine issues with related articles: Legacy Winter 2004, "Cyber Art," page 75.

Plate Finish: A smooth surface found on paper that has been run under a calender machine one or more times.

Ply: A single layer of paper.

Polymer Clay: A malleable clay that can be hardened with baking. Polymer clay be used to create jewelry, and much more.

Polymer Medium: A protective acrylic liquid used as an adhesive for light- to middle-weight papers; also used as a varnish for decoupage. Glossy and dull matte finishes are available.

Pounce/Pumice: In calligraphy, a fine powder used to remove grease from paper or vellum.

Postoid: Faux postage stamp, often created with art stamps and collage techniques. Postoids are not meant to be used in place of regular postage; they are an art form, sometimes collectible.

Preservation (Conservation): Activity associated with maintaining library, archival, or museum materials for use in their original form or in other forms such as micro fiche or CD-ROM.

Primer: Coating material, usually white, applied to a support to prepare it for painting.

Pulp: Any cellulose plant fiber (cotton, linen, wood, other plants) which is cleaned and beaten into a wet mixture of stock used to form sheets of paper.

PVA: Polyvinylacetate; an archival white glue, it is stronger than gel medium. It mixes well with gloss medium. Transparent even after many coats, it will always remain water soluble. Mixed with gel, it becomes water resistant.



Quill: Flight feathers cured and cut to make a nib.

Quilling: The art of rolling thin strips of paper into different shapes and using the shapes to form designs.

Quilt Binding: A strip of fabric that is sewn on all edges of a quilt to cover the raw edges of the quilt top, batting, and backing.

Quilting: The process of assembling two layers of cloth filled with a plush material that is held in place by stitched designs. Related Shoppe products: Art Quilting Studio and Material Visions: A Gallery of Miniature Art Quilts.

Quire: 25 sheets of paper.



Rag Paper: Paper made from cotton or linen rag (textile) fiber. Once made into thread, these fibers are longer, tougher, and somewhat hardened. Rag papers contain from 50- to 100-percent cotton fiber pulp, which is indicated as a percentage of the total fiber content.

Rags: Processed clippings of new cotton remnants from the garment industry for use in high-quality papers.

Recycled Paper: Paper made from post-consumer waste; used paper is cooked in chemicals, de-inked, and reduced to pulp for the manufacture of new paper.

Ream: 500 sheets of paper.

Repoussage/Metal Embossing: Art or process of hammering out or pressing thin metal from the reverse side.

Resin: A general term for a wide variety of more or less transparent, fusible materials. The term is used to designate any polymer that is a basic material for paints and plastics.

Rice Paper: A misnomer used to describe lightweight Oriental papers. There is no such thing as "rice paper," but rice straw is occasionally mixed with other fibers in Asian papermaking, and rice starch is used to size papers made from kozo (mulberry), gampi, and mitsumata fibers.

Rough: A heavily textured paper surface produced by textured blankets, air drying, or both.

Rubber Stamp Carving: Using carving tools to carve your own design or a found design into stamp material such as soft vinyl eraser-like substances.



Sans-Serif: Letter without a serif (foot), such as Helvetica.

Scanner: Scanners operate much the same as a photocopier, except the images are captured not on paper but in pixels on your computer screen. The images are digitized, which allows you to manipulate them with an image editing program such as Adobe Photoshop. You can scan a photograph, then crop it, erase unwanted elements, change a background, change the color scheme, change the size, and so on. Scanners make it easy to reproduce your original photographs and memorabilia so you can preserve the original. Magazine issues with related articles: Legacy Winter 2004, "Cyber Art," page 75.

Scrapbooking: Mounting and preserving pictures, clippings, or other mementos in an artistic and archival manner.

Scumbling: The technique of applying a thin, semi-opaque or translucent coating of paint over a previously painted surface to alter the color or appearance of the surface without totally obscuring it.

Serif: The foot on a letterform; the ending of or lead into a letter.

Shade: Term for a color darkened with black.

Shellac: A yellow resin formed from secretions of the LAC insect, used in making varnish.

Size: Material such as rosin, glue, gelatin, starch, or modified cellulose added to the stock at pulp stage, or applied to the surface of the paper when dry, to provide resistance to liquid penetration. It eliminates ink feathering and bleed-through.

Sizing (internal): Refers to sizing added to the pulp in the beater, before the sheet is made.

Sizing (surface): Refers to sizing applied to the paper after it has been formed. Most western papers are internally sized. The additional conditioning with surface sizing further controls the paper's absorbency.

Sizing (tub): A surface sizing process which passes the dried sheet through a tub-sized bath or vat, re-drying the paper, and hardening the size. Tub sizing yields a deeper sized paper, producing a sheet that is very resilient when working and reworking the surface. Many watercolor papers are tub sized.

Skeleton Letter: A letter made without the calligraphic weight of a broad-edged nib.

Sketch: A preliminary drawing of a composition.

Stamp Positioner - A see-through tool that allows you to position stamp images precisely where you want them.


Stem: Main upright stroke of a letter.

Stipple: The technique of using small dots to simulate varying degrees of solidity or shading. In a drawing or painting, the dots are made of pigment of a single color, applied with a pen or brush; the denser the spacing of the dots, the darker the apparent shade — or lighter, if the pigment is lighter than the surface.

Stitching: To fasten or join with or as if with stitches.

Stroke: The part of a letter made without lifting the pen from the writing surface.

Substrate/Support: The basic support of the painting; paper, cotton, linen, wall, etc.

Sulphite Pulp: Produced through a chemical process from the wood of coniferous trees; a fairly long, strong fiber. Available in a range of grades; pure alpha pulp is noted for its archival quality.



Tempera: Colored pigment with several binders which render the paint opaque. Like gouache, tempera is water soluble even after drying.

Template: A pattern or gauge, such as a thin metal plate with a cut pattern, used as a guide in making something accurately.

TIFF: An uncompressed file, best used when you need to capture small details but they're memory hogs – they take up a lot of storage space on your computer. Magazine issues with related articles: Legacy Winter 2004, "Cyber Art," page 75

Tint: Term for a color lightened with white. Also, in a mixture of colors, the tint is the dominant color.

Tone: The shade gradations from white to black, or from light to dark.

Tooth: Small grained but even texture. Tooth provides for the attachment of succeeding layers of paint.

Translucent: Between transparent and opaque; objects can be seen through it but without clarity.

Transparency: A transparent object, especially a photographic slide that is viewed by light shining through it from behind or by projection. Related Shoppe products: Art Chix Transparency Sheets.

Transparent Tape: A double-sided, glue-like 3M product used in photo mounting and mat making. Removable and non-yellowing.

Typography: The arrangement and appearance of printed matter.



Unryu: An ornamental machine-made acid-free paper. It is fibrous, and lightweight, yet strong. Used in collage and other paper crafting. T-unryu is handmade. Most often the fiber is kozo.

Upper Case: Capital letter or majuscule.



Varnish: Generally, a more or less transparent film-forming liquid that dries into a solid film.

Vellum: A finely textured paper surface; a term also used to designate heavy weight, translucent drawing, or crafting papers.



Walnut Ink: Walnut ink crystals are derived from the walnut shells and are a very versatile, water soluble colorant.

Wash: A thin, usually broadly applied, layer of transparent or heavily-diluted paint or ink.

Watercolor: A technique of painting using a binder made from a water-soluble gum. Watercolors can be transparent or opaque.

Watercolor Board: Made of 100-percent cotton rag, this is a rigid surface suitable for collage and assemblage supports.

Watercolor Paper: A 100-percent cotton rag-quality paper. Comes in light, medium, and heavy weights and surface textures such as hot-pressed (smooth) and cold-pressed (rough).

Waterleaf: A paper with little or no sizing, like blotter; very absorbent.

Watermark: The translucent design or name easily visible when a sheet is held to the light. To create a watermark, attach a design of raised wire to the papermaking screen. When the sheet of paper is formed, the pulp settles in a thinner layer over the wire design.

Wax Resist: The use of a waxy medium to make a design over which a colored wash is spread.

Wearable Art: Art one can wear, including clothing jewelry, and accessories. Related Shoppe products: Belle Armoire, Salon, Altered Couture, and Jewelry Affaire.

Web: The continuous ribbon of paper, in its full width, during any stage of its progress through the paper machine.

Weight: In calligraphy, the relationship of the nib width to the height of the letter.

Wet Strength: The strength of a sheet of paper after it has been saturated with water.

Wheat Paste: Also known as wallpaper paste; the preferred archival adhesive of bookbinders. White Glue: See PVA.

Wove Paper: Paper with a uniform unlined surface and smooth finish, generally made on a European-style mold with a woven wire surface.



X-height: The body height of a letter; the main part of the letter excluding the ascender and/or descender.



Somerset Studio wishes to thank Daniel Smith, Inc., for providing much of the material in this glossary of terms.

Click here to check out our Beginning Basics guide!



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