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5058Making our own base papers

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  • Susanne Krause
    Mar 3, 2009
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      Hi 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
      hand made.

      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.

      Susanne Krause
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