5058Making our own base papers
- Mar 3, 2009Hi all,
the vast majority of sheets on hand made base papers I sell goes to
book restorers, followed by artists. I have next to none in stock and
produce only on request. This leaves me flexible as to colours and
patterning and the customers get exactly what they need for a price is
well above machine made after all, not just because of hand vs.
machine but also because in many cases it takes more time to work on
Much as I'd love to work on hand made alone (Oh for the five days when
we were demonstrating side by side on Frankfurt Book Fair some years
ago and he brought a big, big pile of different papers for me to work
with!), it is out of the question. One of the reasons for this is, the
old surfaces were subject to a special treatment making them
particularly smooth. To get these results today, you'd need a host of
workers handling the tool (sorry, no ides what it may be called in
English) or the output to justify erecting mechanical gadgets,
provided they don't need to be invented first which I don't know. No
one is going to pay you for this.
The biggest problem is just the one you mentioned, Iris. Most hand
made are too porous etc. It's a question of the right fibres, beaten
just the right time, just the right water, just the right sizing, just
the right pigments, dried just the right way. Wait a year or two and
the same paper behaves totally different.
I'm ordering wove (velin) ca. 55gsm, and my paper maker makes it to my
specifications as to fibres, weight and colour; the rest is for him to
decide. We did need some time to find out what works best though! As
you know I'm doing direct techniques only, so the papers have to stand
up to being treated with the hard tools while they are wet and neither
tear nor shed fibres in the process in addition to accepting the
paints in the way I want them to (and keeping them of course)!
My paper maker is Gangolf Ulbricht of Berlin, and there is not much
about paper making he doesn't know. He has a degree in paper
engineering, then went on learning hand paper making, then acquired a
scholarship to learn a year in Japan, living with three paper making
families in turn. Works Japanese style as well as Western, anything
between monstrously big and heavy boards for art and repair and 2 gsm
Gossamer for restoration.
I may be mad. But I'm not that mad.
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