Thursday, 20 February 2014

To search on or to stop, that is the question.

When researching, it happens again and again: You run into a dead end, or something that feels like a dead end. That can be due to so many reasons - there's little or no literature about it, you have found about everything there is, or the literature is all really dated, or the topic has only been looked at from angles that don't help for your own project.

And regardless of when you start and how long you planned to research, there will be a point where you are going to stop, or have to stop. Because you run out of time, or out of energy, or both. Because at one point, everything needs to be finished, or it will start to drag you down. Obviously, that cutoff point is coming faster when you are starting with little leeway in regard to time or energy... and I hate it. I don't like to stop, so it can be really hard for me to draw that line and say "no more". Yet that is essential - it's the art of hitting that sweet spot between getting everything you can while still not wasting too much time. You get a similar phenomenon in a lot of design work, where the last 5% of the work tend to eat up 95% of the time. And I've had it time and again that a jackpot turned up when I had already inwardly scolded myself for still going on though it was clear that nothing more would turn up. That's not making it easier to stop.

It's also not made easier by the fact that these searches usually turn up more interesting stuff from the sidelines. Like this article about how tannin and iron dyes eat up fibres. Or this one about identifying dyestuff (unfortunately behind a paywall).

Or the complete original Plictho by Rosetti. Now if only my old Italian were better...

(I'm looking for the bit in the Plictho where lead is mentioned in regard to dyeing textiles. Anyone have that thing handy?)


Andreas Klumpp M.A. said...

Hallo Katrin,

the only reference to lead in the book I could find are these articles:

lead (piombo):

white lead (biacca)

Anonymous said...

There is an English translation to Rosettis book (first edition of 1548) by Sidney M. Edelstein and Hector C. Borghetty.



Anonymous said...

Negro belissimo

Galla. Scaglia de ferro. Sal comun. Terra sigillata. Vetriol romano. Garofoli. Feretto de Spagna. Piombo limato.

Very beautiful black.

Measure galls. Scale of iron. Common salt. Argil. Roman vitriol. Garofoli. Ferret of Spain. Lead filings.

Bei manchen der Zutaten musst Du schon selber rausfinden was das ist



a stitch in time said...

Thank you all so much for your help!