Wet Paint

Artists' Materials & Framing in St. Paul, MN


Leave a comment

Verra’s Paper Picks of the Week: Japanese Kingin Tissue & Indian Embossed Pearly Crocodile

Kingin Tissue

I love tissues for collaging because they are so thin and lightweight, and have a very pretty finished look. Kingin Tissue has such loveliness, it’s ethereal – wispy with added inclusions of gold and silver leaf flecks. When I’m adhering it in a collage, I like to use Nori Paste. Nori Paste is great for delicate papers and dries to an invisible finish. The layering of these papers on top of watercolor paintings is also beautiful- and always a lovely surprise to see what happens when all elements are put together. I truly embrace surprises!

Kingin Tissue is available in 5 colors, is 21×31″ in size and is machine made in Japan.

kingintissue

 

Indian Embossed Pearly Crocodile

I just recently had this paper in my hands, and all I can say is “WOW!”  This paper has got the wow-factor.  Pearly white on one side and flat white on the other. If you like highly textured decorative paper, this might be one to own.  I have always loved to dry brush acrylic paint over textured papers, and this one blew me away with how good it looked. This unique sheet is 22×30″ in size and machine made in India.

BONUS!  If you like reptile looking paper, be sure to check out the Thai Crocodile sheets as well (pictured below, and available in 4 colors). These papers are 24×36″ and machine made in Thailand.

verrapaperblogMy name is Verra Blough, and I have been the Paper Department Manager at Wet Paint for 25 amazing years.  Wet Paint stocks over 20,000 individual sheets and 2,000 unique styles of paper, including papers from all over the world: China, Canada, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Philippines, Portugal, Thailand, and the USA.  We have some locally made ones, too!

Whether you’re looking for a surface for drawing, painting or printmaking, or a decorative sheet for bookbinding, invitations, or collage, I have the good fortune of seeing all of them and working with many of them…it would be my pleasure to help you find the perfect paper for your project.   With that in mind, I will be blogging about paper and highlighting some of my favorites, as well as some helpful hints.  Let’s get started in exploring paper!


Leave a comment

Verra’s Paper Pick of the Week: Nepalese Lokta Tie-Dye

New Lokta Tie-Dye sheets recently arrived at Wet Paint.  The patterns look very much like what you might see on a t-shirt…how neat is it to see these designs on paper?! Tie-dye is such a great pattern, and it speaks to me in many ways.  These sheets have that retro vibe that takes me back to 70’s era, yet also seems to remain very current.

There are 3 brightly colored options with a repeating pattern. I can picture these sheets being a great background paper on a bulletin board; add a few push pins, some photos, and you’ve got a custom mood board! If that doesn’t grab you, try covering a blank journal using a little glue, and you’ve created a one-of-a-kind place for all your writing and sketching.  Remember, paper can be so amazing to work with- you have so many possibilities!

These sheets are 20×30″ in size and are handmade in Nepal.

tiedye2

verrapaperblogMy name is Verra Blough, and I have been the Paper Department Manager at Wet Paint for 25 amazing years.  Wet Paint stocks over 20,000 individual sheets and 2,000 unique styles of paper, including papers from all over the world: China, Canada, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Philippines, Portugal, Thailand, and the USA.  We have some locally made ones, too!

Whether you’re looking for a surface for drawing, painting or printmaking, or a decorative sheet for bookbinding, invitations, or collage, I have the good fortune of seeing all of them and working with many of them…it would be my pleasure to help you find the perfect paper for your project.   With that in mind, I will be blogging about paper and highlighting some of my favorites, as well as some helpful hints.  Let’s get started in exploring paper!


Leave a comment

Queen for a day

We’ve just wrapped up our big Sidewalk Sale and the fabulous Painting Best Practices workshop (thanks again to George and Tatiana from Natural Pigments and Jim and Sarah at The Art Academy!), and now we have a minute to catch our collective breath before the craziness of back to school is upon us.  What better time to reflect on all the cool, new stuff that’s arrived at Wet Paint recently?

In 1949, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands – an artist as well as a monarch – made her favorite Dutch paint manufacturer, Talens, “Royal.” The Queen felt that Talens shared the same passion for producing color as artists have for producing artwork, so she made their nobility official!  Wet Paint has no such authority, but we are very excited about the new Royal Talens products that are arriving:

– The 46 brilliant colors of Amsterdam Acrylic Ink are highly pigmented ink, extremely lightfast, and waterproof when dry. It has been flying off the shelf since it showed up a few weeks ago. Check out this teaser video to see why.

Ecoline Liquid Watercolor just arrived. The brilliant, dye-based colors are super intense, super transparent, and – of course – super water-soluble.  Super sweet 30ml glass bottles enhance the presentation.

– To go along with the Liquid Watercolor, we’ve also brought in new Ecoline Brush Pens (the display is en route to Wet Paint at press time). These contain the same Ecoline Watercolor in a hearty, economical brush pen that’s great for making sweeping, gestural marks or teeny tiny details.  Can’t wait!

papertoyspaige

One of the big hits from our Holiday Sale was a series of Paper Toys books from Ginkgo Press.  We just received a huge order of these and there are new titles!  These interactive craft books allow children (or the young at heart) to pop out and build their own paper toys. Each volume in the series is designed by a different talented artist, lending a stylized look to their fanciful creations.  Animals, Monsters, Robots, and Fantasy Creatures, themes are now joined by Super Heroes and Speed Demons. Printed on durable cardstock and die-cut, each toy is easy to assemble with no glue or scissors needed.

So many new pens! Here’s a rundown:

– We’ve already sold out of our first order of Pilot Kakuno fountain pens, but – never fear – we got more. This simple, beginners fountain pen is a favorite of new and seasoned writers alike.

Pentel’s Libretto matching rollerball pen and pencil set makes the perfect gift for the sophisticated professional and the conscientious student alike. These nicely weighted utensils feature sleek metal barrels available in three colors and accented in elegant silver trim.

– Also from Pentel, the Tradio refillable fountain pen (not to be confused with the Tradio non-refillable fountain pen) is a stylish and sophisticated, yet affordable, writing & drawing tool. The medium size stainless steel nib allows the ink to flow with smooth control.  The Tradio accepts your favorite International style cartridge, so the world’s your oyster when it comes to ink colors!

Blackwing Pencil fans, come on down…we just received a very limited number of the new Blackwing 73. The 73 features a silver ferrule, a white eraser, and a vivid blue finish with a raised texture that mimics the topography of Lake Tahoe. The number 73 references Lake Tahoe’s last measured Secchi depth (a unit to measure clarity) of 73 feet. The 73 has the soft graphite found in other Blackwing pencils.

You know what would go nicely with your new, blue Blackwing 73? How about a new Hahnemuhle Skizze pad with an eye catching blue rooster on the cover? We’ve got ‘em in two paper weights, two sizes, and gummed or spiral bound. Nice paper, nice look…perfect for sketching at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.  Also check out the new hardbound Hahnemuhle watercolor books and Grey Books, the plain or ruled Diary Flex, and the back-in-stock-at-Wet Paint Quattro square watercolor blocks.

Our friends at Tara Fredrix have launched their latest and greatest new idea: toned canvas in pads and panels. Now you have more time to paint…no need to tone your own canvas first!  Available in four “go to” colors in a variety of sizes.

Strathmore has added three new titles to their popular “Learning Series” instructional books: Textures in Colored Pencil, Draw Nature with Colored Pencil, and Hand Lettering Basics. The Strathmore Learning Series incorporates step-by-step art lessons, developed by the most popular art instructors, into a pad of quality Strathmore paper. Online video tutorials for each pad create an integrated learning experience that help beginning and experienced artists explore a new art style.

Lastly, the biggest, newest single item at Wet Paint is already almost sold out – the Botanical Illustration set of Schmincke Horadam ½ pan watercolors. Based on the overwhelming response, our friend Marilyn Garber picked some good colors!  If you haven’t already picked one of these up, run – don’t walk – to your phone, screen, or transportation device!

So…no official proclamations imbuing royalty, just lots of excitement around the new creative supplies at Wet Paint!


Leave a comment

Wet Paint’s 4th Annual Summer Postcard Project

Going somewhere fun this summer? Or, having a productive stay-cation? Draw, paint, or mix up your media on a postcard-sized paper and mail it to Wet Paint! We’re putting together an exhibition of mail art from our friends and fans wherever they may be. As postcards arrive, we will photograph them to share on our social media pages and then display them in our storefront windows. At the end of the summer, we’ll host a public art opening here at Wet Paint for all of the contributing artists!

postcardimage15There’s no limit to how many postcards you can send, but in order to participate, postcards have to arrive at Wet Paint via our friendly postal carrier – – no dropping them off at the store! Don’t forget to sign your postcard(s) and let us know how to reach you. We want to make sure we’re crediting you when we post the work online and we want to be able to contact you with details about the end of summer art opening on August 18th, 2017.

General Guidelines:
-We are a family-friendly shop, so please tailor your images & words to be suitable for viewers of all ages.
-We reserve the right to not display postcards that we feel are inappropriate for this activity.
-All artwork must be original.
-In order to have your postcard displayed in our end of summer exhibition, you’ll need to have it postmarked by August 11th, 2017.
-All participating mail art must arrive at Wet Paint via US Mail.
-Keep in mind that postcards will “wear” a bit depending on how far they travel- which is part of the fun of mail art!
-Contact your local post office for shipping and postage information.
-Send one or send one every week! We’ve got big windows!

Wet Paint Address:

Wet Paint
Summer Postcard Project
1684 Grand Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105

Edit


Leave a comment

Verra’s Paper Pick of the Week: MN Made Marble Papers by Sally Power & Sue Bjerke

Marbling paper sounds easy: float paint on the surface of a bath, drag something thru the paint to create a pattern, lay the paper on the patterned paint, lift the paper, and – voila!  It both is and isn’t that easy…the artist has choices about what kind of paint to use and how to make it stay on top of the water’s surface; what kinds of patterns are desired and what tools are best to achieve them; what color palette is pleasing and what paper substrate enhances it; and so on.  As with so many creative endeavors, the artistry is not just in the execution, but in the years of trial and error experience that make that execution successful.

Today I want to turn the spotlight on the hand marbled papers made by two close friends (of each other and of Wet Paint): Sally Power and Sue Bjerke.  Their papers are a testament to their dedication to the craft of marbling…each sheet is a stand-alone work of art!  Although Sally and Sue both teach at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts and both use similar materials, their styles are very distinctive and unique.  Ask to see the gorgeous work of these two local artists the next time you visit the Paper Counter at Wet Paint.

Sally’s patterns can be quite lively and contemporary.  She often marbles onto different colored or toned papers, and shares the pattern name, type of paper, and grain direction on the back of each sheet.  This info is very helpful for the box maker or book artist.  I should also mention that, in addition to her full marbled sheets, she has created a pattern unique to her, that she calls “white space marbles,” where she intentionally leaves a section of the sheet almost blank.  Her reasoning is that you can add a verse, or maybe even someone’s name, on that blank space.

Sue’s papers on the other hand, are brightly colored on a bright white paper.  Her designs are marbled and over-marbled so they are super psychedelic, though her patterns tend to be more traditional than Sally’s.

These papers are hand marbled in Minnesota on machine-made paper and are roughly 17×23″ in size.

verrapaperblogMy name is Verra Blough, and I have been the Paper Department Manager at Wet Paint for 25 amazing years.  Wet Paint stocks over 20,000 individual sheets and 2,000 unique styles of paper, including papers from all over the world: China, Canada, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Philippines, Portugal, Thailand, and the USA.  We have some locally made ones, too!

Whether you’re looking for a surface for drawing, painting or printmaking, or a decorative sheet for bookbinding, invitations, or collage, I have the good fortune of seeing all of them and working with many of them…it would be my pleasure to help you find the perfect paper for your project.   With that in mind, I will be  blogging about paper each week, highlighting some of my favorites, as well as some helpful hints.  Let’s get started in exploring paper!


Leave a comment

Is That a Pencil in Your Pocket?

There’s been a lot of attention paid in the media to the pushback against digital tablets in favor of, well, tablets.  It seems that more and more folks are discovering (or rediscovering) the appeal of making marks on paper.  And while you hear a lot about all the different kinds of notebooks out there, the tools that are doing the actual writing and drawing are sometimes less recognized.  What better way to “fix” that (pun intended and explained below) than to cast a discerning and appreciative eye on our old friend, the humble pencil?

IMG_6447For many people, a pencil has a wooden, yellow barrel with a pink eraser on top.  That describes Dixon’s Ticonderoga, amongst others, and we’ve got ‘em at Wet Paint.  We’ve also got lots of pencils specifically made for drawing.  Artist-grade pencils are like the fancy cousins of the “yellow pencil”…they’re related, in that they have lead encased in a wooden barrel.  The big difference is the very high quality lead they contain and the fact that this lead comes in a bunch of different hardnesses (see the guide below), allowing the artist to make a range of marks from smudgy dark to scratchy light.  Caran d’Ache produces a remarkable artists’ graphite pencil called Grafwood – 15 hardnesses of the nicest graphite you’ve ever used.  Czech company Koh-I-Noor is credited with the creation of the graphite pencil we know today…Wet Paint stocks their Toison D’or line of artists’ pencils.  We also carry high quality pencils from German Faber Castell, Austrian Cretacolor and English Derwent.

Koh-I-Noor-Pencil-Point-of-Purchase-Sign

Sometimes a pencil is that thing that clicks when you push down on the eraser and lead comes out.  Those are known as mechanical pencils and we’ve got tons of those, too.  Modern mechanical pencils are available in four standard lead sizes – .3mm, .5mm, .7mm and .9mm – and a variety of lead hardnesses (though not as many as artists’ pencils).  Pentel’s new Orenz actually comes in a teeny tiny .2mm, but it’s the exception!  One of our favorite new mechanical pencils is the OHTO SHARP .5mm wooden mechanical pencil.  It looks like a small, regular pencil, but it clicks!  Available in three appealing colors…I think everybody on staff owns at least one of them!

IMG_6448

The architects and engineers reading this may have their hands in the air at this point, because there are also mechanical style pencils that hold larger lead sizes than the four I mentioned above.  Lead holders, as these are called, accept lead sizes from 2mm to 5.6mm.  This heartier lead is perfect for the demands placed on it by makers…of buildings and art.  One of our most popular lead holders is the Fixpencil (remember my pun?) from Caran d’Ache.  Available in several lead sizes, color accents, and surfaces, the Fixpencil combines workman-like durability with sleek Swiss design…they are very handsome tools.

Back to the basic yellow pencil.  Some of our favorite writing tools are essentially “regular” pencils, just more stylish.  The Blackwing pencil, for instance, only comes in a few different hardnesses, but in a multitude of limited edition finishes and colored barrels.  The unique square ferrules and replaceable erasers make them stand out from the crowd.  Speaking of standing out, my favorite #2 pencils of all time have to be the Viarco Vintage series pencils.  Both pencils and packaging are faithful reproductions of Viarco products from the 1940s to the 1970s. These boxes are so authentic, a slip of paper had to be added to accommodate a bar code! These six unique 12-pencil boxes are designed in Portugal using long-established production methods, and the quality you’ve come to expect from Viarco.  They are almost too fantastic to use.

Oh, and we’ve got notebooks, too….


Leave a comment

Verra’s Paper Pick of the Week: Thai Heavy Embossed

Have you ever bought something that you then forgot about? Well, I have.  I was recently stocking a new paper purchase in my flat files and came across some papers I had brought home for a project a long time ago! These forgotten sheets were Thai Heavy Embossed with “Ficus Leaves.”  This entire Heavy Embossed group has a very soft feel and off-white color.  I bought these sheets a while back with the intention of using them as a window treatment.  I knew I didn’t want curtains, so I thought these sheets would be lovely attached to the window with a little adhesive putty.

I cut the sheets down to the appropriate sizes and discovered that, when cut, the paper has a very soft edge- which I love. I might experiment with adding a little color to them… but they also look just fine as they are (why mess with a good thing?).  I can’t wait to see what they look like once they’re up.  I’ve left them out – so I don’t forget them again! –  and plan to put them up at home soon.  I’ll try to get a good picture of the finished product if I can (feel free to ask me about my new window shades the next time you’re in the store!).

The “Thai Heavy Embossed” group of papers are 22×30″ and handmade in Thailand.

Also, this is a fantastic show and will be up for another 2 weeks- until May 13 at the Textile Center. Mary Hark’s indigo dyed handmade paper and fabric is gorgeous! Check it out!

verrapaperblogMy name is Verra Blough, and I have been the Paper Department Manager at Wet Paint for 25 amazing years.  Wet Paint stocks over 20,000 individual sheets and 2,000 unique styles of paper, including papers from all over the world: China, Canada, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Philippines, Portugal, Thailand, and the USA.  We have some locally made ones, too!

Whether you’re looking for a surface for drawing, painting or printmaking, or a decorative sheet for bookbinding, invitations, or collage, I have the good fortune of seeing all of them and working with many of them…it would be my pleasure to help you find the perfect paper for your project.   With that in mind, I will be  blogging about paper each week, highlighting some of my favorites, as well as some helpful hints.  Let’s get started in exploring paper!


Leave a comment

Thinking About Hard Edge Abstraction This Week

Great friend and customer, Dr. Michael Path, dropped by Wet Paint yesterday with a beautiful monograph he’d told me about on a previous visit.  Somehow I had never heard of the California abstractionist John McLaughlin (1898-1976), but seeing the reproductions in Dr. Path’s book made me excited to see the paintings in person.  As it turns out, I could have seen a bunch of them at the recent LACMA exhibition…if I had known about it before it closed on the 16th of April (and I was in Los Angeles).  Rats!

A show I also would have liked to have seen in person was the Carmen Herrera show at The Whitney last winter.  Herrera is another artist that I – and apparently many others – hadn’t heard of prior to her highly acclaimed career retrospective, even though she’s been working consistently for over 60 years, and continues producing new paintings at age 101.

Besides being largely ignored, then rediscovered, by the mainstream art establishment, McLaughlin and Herrera share another thing in common: their work falls into the category of “Hard Edge” painting.  This term was first used by curator Jules Langsner in his catalog introduction to the show Four Abstract Classicists at The San Francisco Museum of Art in 1959 (McLaughlin was one of the four painters exhibited).  Although the phrase was coined in the mid-century, this style of non-figurative, geometric abstraction dates back to the early twentieth century in the paintings of Hilma af Klint, Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian and Josef Albers.  The heyday of Hard Edge painting & sculpture, though, was definitely the late 1950’s thru the mid 1970’s as romantic Abstract Expressionism fractured into “cooler” movements, notably Pop, Mimimalism, Light & Space, and Hard Edge.  Artists like Frank Stella. Kenneth Noland, Anne Truitt, Ellsworth Kelly and Jo Baer created their signature abstract works at this time.

As the recent McLaughlin and Herrera shows demonstrate, there continues to be great interest in geometric abstraction, and a new generation anxious to relearn and reinterpret the modes associated with it.  German born Tomma Abts, the first woman to win the Tate’s prestigious Turner Prize, is perhaps the best known of a new wave of artists interpreting Hard Edge with a contemporary eye (check out her sculpture at the Walker the next time it’s on exhibit).  Closer to home, Lisa Nankivil, Ann Pibal, Ruben Nusz, and Melanie Pankau (all with connections to Minneapolis) are creating art that has traditional Hard Edge painting at its root, but all four are taking their work in unique and exciting directions.

NIJT-Nichiban-251-TapeEvidenced by the breadth of approaches from just the handful of artists above, there is no one Hard Edge style or technique.  There’s also no one particular material required for creating hard edge art.  That said, there are a few supplies that we’ve seen artists return to over & over.  The “edge” in Hard Edge usually arrives from masking one area from another, and our favorite thing to do that with is Nichiban Masking Tape from Japan.  As our friend Roz Stendahl once said: “This tape is so good, it should have its own name (besides masking tape).”  Super thin (no “ridge” to your “edge”), fantastically adhesive, and easy & clean to remove, if you use tape anywhere in your painting practice, you should use Nichiban.  Eliminating the “hand” of the artist – the gestural brushstrokes associated with a more expressionistic approach – is a hallmark of many Hard Edge paintings.  Golden Artist Color’s Self Leveling Clear Gel produces an even, transparent film when added to acrylic paint, so your color fields are smooth and distraction-free.  Finally, unlike our sister stores on the coasts, we don’t have as many canonical artists dropping by for paint.  30-ArtistTubesGRPHowever, we have supplied two famous Hard Edge painters and both chose the same paint: Lascaux Artist Acrylic.  Seemingly every acrylic says it has a creamy, oil-like consistency, but Lascaux really delivers…gorgeous color that handles like a dream.

 

I hope that, like Dr. Path and me, you find inspiration in the work of these artists.  I look forward to seeing you at Wet Paint soon!


Leave a comment

Verra’s Paper Picks of the Week: Thai Banana & Thai Mango (yum!)

I really enjoy working with papers, especially ones with natural inclusions- like flower petals, grasses, bark, and leaves.  They’ve got to be some of my all-time faves!  If you like gardening like I do, you have to explore the “Thai Banana” and “Thai Mango” sheets- they are so cool to work with!

The sheets are mulberry and kozo fibers with added inclusions.  The “Banana” group is filled with banana leaves and pieces, while the mango group is filled with – what else – lots of mango leaves.

I have used these sheets for many projects, but one of my favorite was to create table decorations for a garden party- it was a blast! I covered little glass votive containers with a little help from some double-sided tape, added a flickering LED light, and voila! Cute lights!  I also covered glass vases with the paper (again using double-sided tape) and then filled the vases with fresh flowers. Easy peasy, floral centerpieces! I felt it created a magical look without a lot of supplies…I have always been of the mind that “less is more.” With spring upon us, I can’t wait to find more ways to incorporate Thai natural papers to other garden projects.

Sheets are 25×37″ and machine made in Thailand.  Thai Banana is available in 20 color options and Thai Mango has 17 color choices.

verrapaperblogMy name is Verra Blough, and I have been the Paper Department Manager at Wet Paint for 25 amazing years.  Wet Paint stocks over 20,000 individual sheets and 2,000 unique styles of paper, including papers from all over the world: China, Canada, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Philippines, Portugal, Thailand, and the USA.  We have some locally made ones, too!

Whether you’re looking for a surface for drawing, painting or printmaking, or a decorative sheet for bookbinding, invitations, or collage, I have the good fortune of seeing all of them and working with many of them…it would be my pleasure to help you find the perfect paper for your project.   With that in mind, I will be  blogging about paper each week, highlighting some of my favorites, as well as some helpful hints.  Let’s get started in exploring paper!


Leave a comment

Green is our favorite color

loveearthWithout a lot of fanfare, many of the small companies that manufacture and distribute art supplies have been going green. I was just reading that very few industries overall are welcoming recent rollbacks of our US environmental protections.  Major companies see no need to turn this train because it serves their customers and shareholders to keep their promise to be more efficient and reduce their long term impact.  It seems that most companies do care about the long term effects of their methods and, more importantly, find that green tech is good for the bottom line. Maybe a few are cynically labelling themselves “eco-friendly” to get into the pocket of the SRCs (Socially Responsible Consumers) but those customers are not just the stereotypical college professors and yuppies.

Most importantly, in my opinion, we learn that plenty of companies that are new or expanding make a business decision for their facility that has more to do with their operations than their marketing department.  We figured that this week we’d call out a few cool things that we’ve noticed happening in our niche of the economy beyond strategically investing in LED replacement bulbs.

  • MABEF has been producing fine painting supports in Italy since 1948.  Their “French Easels” are iconic gear for the outdoor and portable painter . It turns out that MABEF uses only Forest Stewardship Council certified beechwood in their products, meaning the wood has come from a forest and supply chain that is managed responsibly.  Even the scraps and saw dust from the manufacturing process are converted to wood pellets that heat the MABEF factory and offices.
  • Artograph makes light tables and projectors and has been bringing their production of some of these products back onshore to the US (in nearby Delano, MN) which reduces the fuel used in shipping and transport.
  • Stabilo (Markers, Pencils, and Pens) added an environmental officer in the early 90s and pays very close attention to where their products come from and where they end up after the artist is done with them. I like their FAQ.
  • Gamblin Artist Oils has a page that wisely talks about the safety of the artist in the same breath with the safety of the environment. Their Gamsol product is designed with both in mind and every oil painter should be familiar with these safe studio practices.  They are like a lot of other manufacturers that also power with wind and are sharply on top of their waste management.
  • DaVinci Brushes relocated their new factory in 2006 to cut the commute of their staff and keep them close to public transport. The facility is green and happy employees are good for business!

Making paper consumes a lot of water in the growing of the pulp plants and in the papermaking process.  The manufacturing process can contaminate waste water with bleaches and other chemicals. Also, the product is just plain heavy to ship, which drinks a lot of fuel.  All of our manufacturers are addressing these issues. Here are some good examples of where their care with our resources makes good business sense:

  • Clairefontaine (Rhodia) makes some of our most popular softcover note/sketchbooks. Like more than a few other companies they use only pulp from managed forests.
  • We have several companies that use renewable plants for their stock, like the Lokta papers we were featuring this week and papers made with hemp or kenaf fiber.
  • Strathmore, Bee and others mills routinely now use 20-30% PCW (Post Consumer Waste) in their sketch paper. That’s a big deal as 20 years ago “recycled” was usually pre-consumer, meaning that a company was just re-pulping waste material and overstock found in their facility. Now they buy from companies like our local Rock-Ten and keep my shredded credit card offers out of the landfill.

TropheeDeLeauCLF

Some of this corporate responsibility is visible on the packages, but not all of it is shouty big green “ECO-Friendly Organic Paintbrush” stickers with treefrogs and leaves on the labels. I went looking and found these everywhere, not just in the brands mentioned here.  I encourage you to grab the pads on our shelves and read the inner or back covers to learn more about each pad’s sources. It’s there and I’m impressed.  If you don’t see it on the packages, hit the manufacturers’ websites or ask us and we’ll have a chat with our vendors.  It’s not all of them, but I have been really lifted up to discover that this has been threaded so thoroughly throughout our business over that last couple of decades that it is now just a fact of how we do business and I cannot expect any of this is going to be dropped in the next few years.

Absent the protection of law, the good news from 2017 is that few companies would turn their back on the consumers who want them to be responsible and only a poor quality business would think they could survive in the long term by being purposefully neglectful of their natural resources.

Heavy. Maybe next week we’ll investigate the practices of craft breweries and distilleries that compost and send their spent mash to farms for cattle feed.