Wet Paint

Artists' Materials & Framing in St. Paul, MN


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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!


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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!


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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!


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Verra’ Paper Picks of the Week: Rives de Lin & Cavallini

Rives de Lin

Ever get bored using the same paper over and over? Well, now during the “Make Your Mark Sale,” we have a super paper deal on Rives de Lin: only $4.99 a sheet ($11.99 MSRP)! This beautiful off- white paper is not your run-of-the-mill Rives…you would swear it’s a handmade sheet.  Rives de Lin is 23.5×31.5,” 300gr. and features a lovely, distinctive texture that results from its production, as well as its  85% cotton and 15% linen content. Rives de Lin is great for all kinds of drawing and dry media, and – like its cousin Rives BFK –  good for printmaking, too.

The Make Your Mark Sale is from March 1st thru April 30th, 2017

rivesdelin

Cavallini

I have always thought any of our papers could be used as artwork for your walls, but did you ever think that someone would create a line of paper for just that purpose? Italian Cavallini paper is just that, and the entire collection (of over 50 patterns!) is really fun! The images look like old timey illustrations from back in the day…reproductions of anatomy lessons, alphabets, bird illustrations, and maps- just to name a few. The sheets are 20×28″ in size and have a lovely laid finish. I recently had a customer cut one of the alphabet sheets for a quick and fun batch of flash cards to teach her grandson the ABC’s.

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!


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Verra’s Paper Picks of the Week: Japanese Chiyogami and Kinwashi

Chiyogami

I recently put up a display in the paper department of Japanese chiyogami papers (also known as Yuzen in the U.S.).   Chiyogami papers feature intricate, silkscreened patterns on machine made sheets of mixed kozo and sulphite.  The pattern choices are truly amazing with a huge range of themes & designs: birds, florals, geometrics, symbols and more.  The pattern size is small, the color saturation is striking, and the registration is spot on.   I can tell you first hand that once you feel and see this paper, the ideas for possible applications will flow.  We’ve even had customers buy a sheet and take it directly to Kate to have it custom framed…they’re that beautiful!

Sheets are 26×39″ (and we do sell them in half sheets, too).

 

kinwashi

Kinwashi

I can still remember the day, like it was yesterday, when I bought my first decorative sheet of paper.  It was the lovely Japanese Kinwashi in the Natural color. To be honest with you, the hardest part of the purchase was deciding between natural or white- they’re both so lovely!  At that time, I was making handmade greeting cards and needed to create a gauze effect with a natural look, and Kinwashi was perfect…even better than I expected!

Carol Spohn recently taught a class using Kinwashi as a collage paper with watercolors. The results her class got were really inspiring.  It’s really fun to work with lightweight, yet durable paper like Kinwashi!

Kinwashi is machine made with manila hemp and mixed kozo fibers. Sheets are 24×36″ and it comes in white and natural.

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!


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Verra’s Paper Pick of the Week: Thai Marble Momi and Japanese Ogura Lace

Thai Marble Momi

I love the feel of paper.  The tactile experience is one of my favorite things about it – so many lovely textures to soothe the senses.  I’ve always enjoyed the Thai Marble Momi group for that exact reason- it’s very fabric like and colorful.  So many swirled color combinations- this line includes 19 fabulous options.  We recently added four new colors to the range we stock…I can’t wait to start working with the one called “Tropical Reef” which has a blend of lime greens, pink, turquoise, and copper.

When you hand-tear this paper, it creates soft edges making it wonderful for any paper arts projects involving glue or layering.

Sheets are 24×36″ hand marbled in Thailand. Made from kozo and wood pulp.

momimarble

Japanese Ogura Lace

This paper is a great, fiberous lace that can be used as a collage paper.  I have found it tears easily and creates wonderful feathery edges.  I even used it as a window covering for my basement windows- I just love how it filters the light!

Sheets are available in 3 colors and are 21×31″ in size.  Machine made with manila hemp in Japan.

oguralace

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!


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Verra’s Paper Picks of the Week: Decor Blossoms & Amime Lace

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!

verrapaperblogapril

Decor Blossoms from Nepal

This paper is handmade in Nepal from the fibrous bark  of the daphne cannabina- a bushy herb commonly known as “Lokta.”  Sheets are 19.5×29.5″ and are available in 4 color combinations: Slate on Cream, Gold on Navy Blue, Gold on Sage, and Gold on Black.

This beautiful sheet can be used for many paper art applications- book arts, collage, and decoupage- or with the Slate on Cream style, just add color to it like an oversized coloring book page! You could even just hang it up as art to enjoy on your wall.

amimelace

Japanese Amime Lace

I’ve always loved clean lines, intersecting lines, and grids. The entire Amime Lace series (of 13 colors!) really speaks to me- the grid pattern and the range of colors make me very happy.  I would like to highlight a particular favorite with the “hot pink” color.  This color says summer time to me when everything in my weird world revolves around bright colors.  Who doesn’t need a little summer feeling right now?  Hot Pink Amime Lace would also be totally appropriate for your handmade valentine…ooh la la! Whatever the project, I enjoy paring up bright colors with a crisp white paper for a fresh look and adding the various colored grids to my collages to create depth.


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Week 2: Dreaming of Your Art Deco Getaway

Dreaming of a winter getaway?  Create your perfect destination poster in the classic Art Deco style. Take inspiration from the WPA historical posters for our National Parks, or the European Travel posters from the 1920’s through 1940’s…these iconic works focus on saturated colors, a limited color palette, and bold graphics.  Be sure to layer your colors to get the right perspective (back, middle, and foreground) and feel free to add a little text.  You can also use stencils or templates to help with your graphic elements.  We recommend using your favorite water media: gouache, watercolor, or acrylic paint.

Need more poster inspiration? Check out the fun, reprinted vintage posters from Italian Cavallini paper – bonus: all sheet paper is 10% off right now!  These new, old timey posters would make a great travel journal cover!

These Weekly Workouts will be posted as Events in our Facebook Group, click here to join!
We will also post our exercises here on our blog
Click here to see our list of suggested art supplies


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Why Wet Paint Stocks Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks

justinswededelta

Justin Terlecki pen on Delta

Back in the 1970s, if you were a serious art student, it was standard to carry a black bound sketchbook just like your professor. Besides being the repository of your sketches and notes, the binding gave you the sense of this being a permanent record, a uniform format that would be the historic record of the studies for your artwork. As this tradition continued through the decades, the black sketchbook began to evolve. Some artists didn’t like the roll of the page caused by the binding, so paper manufacturers started providing the field sketchbook: the same hard black leatherette cover but with spiral binding. Others introduced micro-perforated sheets that could be torn out discreetly. In doing so, the original intent of the bound book changed over time. The book could now be easily edited; pages torn out and discarded instead of kept archived in place and in sequence.

Liz Carlson; watermedia on Epsilon

Liz Carlson; watermedia on Epsilon

By the beginning of the 21st century, the popularity of the black sketchbook made it quite a commodity item for the pad makers. Unfortunately, in order to compete with each other, this meant that many black sketchbooks began to come out of Asia with lower and lower prices and with paper of the quality of a cocktail napkin. This devolution of the quality of the black bound sketchbook only took into consideration that all art students and most artists wanted this product. They had lost track of the purpose of the book … They ignored the fact that paper quality could affect the drawings made on their pages. They totally missed the trend of artists working in mixed media which requires heavier and better paper. They didn’t notice the growing movement of sketching as an art form where the final work is kept within the sketchbook itself. And they lost sight of the vital role that the black sketchbook could play as a place to record ideas, document the creative process, and archive one’s development as an artist.

Wet Paint staff, Steve and Langhan, and the display of Stillman & Birn sketchbooks.

Wet Paint staff, Steve and Langhan, and the display of Stillman & Birn sketchbooks.

As an industry, art materials has been ripe for the return of a quality black bound sketchbook and in 2011, Stillman & Birn did just that. Michael Kalman and Oscar Hernandez are the founders of Stillman & Birn. Michael is the nephew of the original manufacturer of the first black bound sketchbook in 1958. Michael and Oscar believe that artists need sketchbooks that are the same caliber as any of their other art materials. Stillman & Birn understands that all artists don’t work alike and need papers with different surface qualities, different weights, different levels of whiteness, and of course, different sizes and different bindings. They have listened to artists and worked to provide them with a line of bound sketchbooks that is as diverse as their needs. Stillman & Birn has sourced the finest quality papers from Europe and then bound them under the strictest quality control in the United States. They’ve mastered the challenge of featuring heavier papers in bound books in addition to spirals, and, most remarkable of all, their bindings will actually allow the pages to lie flat and satisfy the sketcher who wants to work across 2 pages.

Stillman & Birn is a supplier that truly wants to provide artists with the best possible product they can afford and Wet Paint has worked closely with them in the improving of their product and the development of new items. Their commitment to the artist shows not just in the sketchbooks themselves, but in the amount of information that is provided on each book.

Justin Terlecki; pen on Alpha

Justin Terlecki; pen on Alpha

Wet Paint has stocked the Stillman & Birn books since their first manufacture run. The Wet Paint staff personally endorses this line. Justin Terlecki only uses Stillman & Birn sketchbooks now and says, “The Alpha and Beta have wonderful paper in them that is suitable for fountain pen sketching. The paper takes the ink beautifully and produces nice clean lines that don’t feather. The paper is also heavy enough that your drawings do not bleed on the other side. When you hold one of these books in your hand, you can tell that they are no ordinary sketchbook.” They are Liz Carlson’s go-to sketchbooks too. She uses the Alpha series because “the bright white tone of the paper is perfect to show off color media.”

Liz Carlson; watermedia on Alpha

Liz Carlson; watermedia on Alpha

Last month Stillman & Birn began shipping their new “Zeta Series” sketchbook to meet the demands of artists wanting a 180# heavy weight, natural white, smooth surface in both hardbound and wirebound books. And in June 2013, Wet Paint will have 22×30” individual sheets for each of the 6 papers featured in Stillman & Birn’s sketchbooks. This enables the artist to move from their sketchbook to a larger format without having to adapt to different surface qualities. Later in the year, we will have sampler sketchbooks which will include pages of all 6 papers so people can experiment will all the surfaces in the series.

Visit Wet Paint in person or online to see the entire line of Stillman & Birn sketchbooks. And visit the Stillman & Birn blog to see more examples of what artists are doing in their books.