Historically, artists primed their painting surfaces with animal hide glues such as rabbit skin glue. Besides being hard on the rabbit population, these primers tend to be brittle and susceptible to cracking. With the invention of plastics in the early 1900’s, petroleum-based, acrylic gesso became the most commonly used artist primer among artists. Acrylic gesso contains ammonia and formaldehyde as preservatives, which is why many professors at art schools recommend wearing a respirator when you prime your canvasses.
What is Methyl Cellulose?
Methyl Cellulose is polymer derived from plant fibers and is a vegan alternative to animal glues. It is naturally archival. It is also widely used in foods and cosmetics, and it is non-allergenic.
Why is our gesso not pre-mixed and in liquid form?
Once these ingredients are mixed, they have a limited shelf life in a container. We have not discovered a non-toxic preservative that works, and we refuse to use common petroleum based preservatives to extend the shelf life. By mixing it yourself you’re eliminating the need for any additional toxins or preservatives. Shipping in powder form also helps reduce the weight and volume required for shipping, which further reduces our environmental impact.