OUTSIDE FADE TEST - Start Nov 1998, End Feb 2000
As you can see, there is significant fading in the test.
The paper was burnt and the then cut in 3 parts. Part one was left in full sun coming through a window. Part 2 was sprayed with mat picture varnish, not UV protected. Part 3 was put in the dark for the duration.
INSIDE FADE TEST - start Nov 1998, end Feb 2000
Well....nothing too faded about this that I can see. Perhaps a TAD on the patch burnt with the shader. 'A' is the piece hidden away, 'B' is the piece left out.
The light source was indirect light from a double window which is approx. 6 feet from where the paper was pinned to the wall. I also have 100W incandescent light overhead, which is always on when I work, regardless if it's day or night.
OUTSIDE FADE TEST WITH PIGMENT COMPARISON - start Nov 1998, end Feb 2000
I was curious to see how watercolour paint would fare in comparison to burning. Interesting!
Well! THIS was very interesting and surprising.
For those of you who don't know what tagua is, I'll briefly explain for you. It also comes with the various other handles of vegetable ivory, palm ivory and corozo. It is the nut of the Palm Ivory and looks and feels remarkably like elephant ivory. It was traditionally used extensively in the button industry until plastic was born. It's now highly prized by artisans to carve, scrimmshaw, paint and now, to burn on. (see some examples of burnt tagua art here.)
I started experimenting and extensively burning on tagua around a year ago. Dear Peg Wood kindly sent me some slices to try and I've been in love with it ever since.
I love that it's white to burn on, that is has weight, that you can make great jewelry from it, is popular with customers and that it looks and feels just like ivory, but no elephants were harmed in the making of this art. In fact, tagua growing and harvesting are helping save the rain forests of Ecuador.
Like paper, I was very interested to see if burnt images on tagua would fade. There weren't even any rumours of this amongst pyrographers as tagua burning seems very new except for a few crude craft applications in the past. So...I set out to test the fading of a burnt image on tagua approx 8 months ago. This time also included my summer months, so it got a real work out.
The test comprised of burning a series of lines and patches across a single piece of tagua, then half of the tagua was screened from the sun with cardboard. It was then placed on the sill of a very sunny window for 8 months.
I admit that I expected some fading at least, but was stunned when I returned from Canada, took off the screen and saw there was NO fading at all! In fact, the side that was in the sun was cracked and checked from the beating it took from the sun, but no fading at all was evident. The only thing I can think of is that burning tagua 'meat' actually cooks it and creates a different property than the carbon formed during wood and paper burning.
I'm sure one happy puppy though! This is one art/craft material where I don't have to worry about the fade aspect.
Can tagua burning fade from other means? Yes, I think it can from experience. This largely depends on the finish applied to the piece. Oils or varnishes that yellow wood can cause the image to fade by yellowing the white of the tagua....creating less contrast in the original image. Unsealed tagua will also fade if allowed to get wet or rub up against things.
TAGUA FADE TEST - 8 months
'A' is the side that was exposed to the sun.
Note how side A is heavily checked from the sun baking it, but there is no fading that can be seen in comparison to side 'B', which was hidden from the sun and light.
A Few Samples of Tagua Nut Burning