05 June 2007
I Love Cheap Paper
I've been using a fairly expensive Japanese paper called Echizen Kozo for the past year and a half or so. A lovely cream-colored paper made of mulberry and sized for moku hanga, Echizen Kozo costs just shy of $20 per 26" x 38" sheet -- not a paper you want to do a lot of experimenting with.
But I want to experiment. I want to feel free to mess up some prints in the quest for better ones. It's like the paralysis one can feel when approaching a beautiful hardbound sketchbook vs. the freedom of doodling on a spiralbound notepad. On the other hand, in the event that my experiment is successful I want it to be on good paper. That way I won't have to painstakingly recreate my results and possibly lose the energy of the original epiphany.
What to do? In my workshop with Matt Brown two years ago, he mentioned that he always uses Rives heavyweight paper and has been very happy with it. I used it a few times early on, but I received a lot of input from other printmakers that the Japanese paper is far superior, so I moved on. Last month, though, I bought a stack of Rives at Dick Blick for a mere $2.88 per sheet (26" x 40") and that's what I'm using on the egg prints (previous post). It's positively liberating as far as experimentation is concerned. Takes the ink real well, too, now that I know more about how to print. I'm not saying that I won't be using Japanese paper any more, but I sure like the cheaper Rives for playing around.