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- story by MaterialDistrict
Salt has – aside from its taste – some extraordinary talents that are mostly used in and around the kitchen: There are always a few grains of rice in the salt shaker, cucumber loses water when treated with salt, a few salt crystals on spilt red wine are still the best saviour. So it is obvious that salt has a very special relationship with fluids. In chemistry this process is called osmosis. It occurs because salt is hygroscopic by nature. Translated into everyday vocabulary this means: salt always strives to dissolve – thus drawing water from its immediate surroundings. Artists use this characteristic in silk painting. Salt is sprinkled on the painted watered fabric, the salt then absorbs the liquid and with it the dissolved pigments of colour. By doing so, every grain creates a corona of lightened silk around itself. The question popped up: Does this technique work on wood?
LLot LLov transferred the effects of osmosis caused by salt onto wood. First the surface is glazed monochrome or multi-colour, then it is sprinkled with salt. The results are affected by the kind of salt used, humidity and length of reaction time. A series of experiments shows that big crystals tend to create big rims with strong contrasts, whereas fine crumbs of salt trigger more differentiated patterns with softer gradients. When combined with spruce wood, the salt draws the pigment into the natural flow of the grain, emphasizing the unique features of the original material.