With the new year, Archival Arts is introducing a new watercolor paper that will be used as our standard textured watercolor paper. This change has been years in the making, starting when Hahnumuhle discontinued offering the 200ft rolls of William Turner paper we have been using for over 16 years.
We have had a great run with Hahnemuhle papers. They are very high quality and consistently reproduce better than most other papers in the fine art reproduction market.
The one complaint we and some of our customers have with the William Turner paper in particular is the flaking that occurs in the ink layer. For most prints, it is not apparent, however if there is great deal of solid, dark coverage, it is almost impossible to prevent the print from getting small specks of white due to the paper flaking. This is not really a defect of the paper as much as it is a result of the paper being 100% cotton and having a texture that lends itself to this flaking.
Over the years, we didn't address this problem because it was so rare, however when Hahnemuhle stopped allowing our supplier to provide us with 200ft rolls of the paper, this caused a great deal of problems that prompted us to find a better solution.
The biggest problem we ran into was we could only print on 40ft rolls, which have a 3" core. The smaller core causes the paper to come off the printer with a curl. This curl has to be manually fixed by back-rolling the paper. It is time consuming and also causes the flaking of the William Turner to happen much more..not to mention the shorter rolls cost a great deal more in shipping fees.
Fortunately, our supplier asked if we would be willing to help test a new paper he was developing.
The idea was to replace the William Turner paper with a new paper that doesn't flake and has the same printing quality. The 100% cotton base of the paper is sourced from a supplier in Europe that has been around for hundreds of years and the inkjet coating is applied here in the United States by our supplier. After over a year of testing, and a great deal of work on my suppliers part to perfect the binding and ink adhesion, we finally have a paper that is far better than Hahnemule William Turner in my opinion. We have already tested the paper with a few of our customers and the response has been very positive!
There are a few things about the Qua Forte paper that we are very happy about as we use it more.
1. It has the same thickness as the William Turner paper but it is much more dense, giving the paper a much heavier feel.
2. The color reproduction is identical to William Turner and has a very similar white point.
This was very important to us because we didn't want to have to re-proof the colors of all the files we have printed over the years on the William Turner paper.
3. The new paper deckles beautifully and gives a much wider tear than the William Turner.
4. Due to the denser quality, the paper is much harder to crease when coming off the printer. This makes us waste less paper due to damage and makes trimming easier.
5. Best of all, our new Qua Forte paper has a nice modest texture that has a smoother feel and does not chip or flake. It really has a very high quality feel.
As with any fine art giclee print on watercolor paper, prints still need to be handled delicately. We also highly recommend framing prints under glass with an acid free mat to ensure the print will last a lifetime without fading or weathering. As always, framed prints and originals should be displayed in an area that will not get direct sunlight.
One last point. We are still stocking the Hahnemuhle Photo Rag paper we use as our smooth watercolor paper and do not plan to change this paper unless we find a slightly thicker and equal quality paper for the same price.
I hope you agree we have made a wise decision to switch to the new Qua Forte paper.
Please feel free to give us some feedback on the change!