Before I started making paper things on a larger scale I used to buy paper from a regular ol' blue collar scrapbook brand. They provided packs with a large swath of colors which allowed me to work on new projects without having to drive back and forth to the store. They were a good thickness and cheap enough that I ended up making my art from this paper for years in Austin.
I always imagined one day I would find the paper company of my dreams and I'd source my paper directly from them, and they would know my name, and whenever someone brings in donuts to work, they will set one aside for me because they know I will be coming in later. Well, anyways.
After an little while I did find a pretty dreamy paper store , in Manhattan by the name of Paper Presentation, and it was a love at first sight sort of thing, for sure. If you've never been, and you are in the NYC area, you should make a field trip. On top of having a huge selection of envelopes, cards, boxes, scrolls of paper, they have paper that is made of thinly sliced wood, translucent paper with designs bleached into it, and paper as beautiful and delicate as a lace doily. From a technical side, I've never seen a store with nicer paper. The other half of the store is everything you'd expect from an arts and crafts store, combined with everything you'd expect at a paper goods store (well made cards, caligraphy sets, gifts) but curated by paper royalty.
I have been using Paper Presentation stock since I launched my KickStarter in 2013 and I've loved every glorious minute I've spent in those hallowed halls. But recently, as I've finished up my first quick round of correspondence cards (available soon in the Etsy shop!) I realized that a lot of the problems I have with cutting designs stems not from the overcomplicated nature of the designs or from the lack of performance of my paper cutter (it's not necessarily meant to be the workhorse of a business), but can stem from the paper itself.
One problem I have with Paper Presentation, is that their paper is just too darn thick. Paper comes in weights, (32, 65, 80, 110) which are named for how much a roll weighs. Before paper is packaged it is cut, it is usually cut from a roll. They look like this^. Remember elementary school? Well Paper Presentation has an incredible assortment of colors, textures, patterns of paper, their weights are pretty inconsistent.
I'd really like to work with 65-80 lb paper, but when I'm trying to match colors, say a cream to match moon cheese, I am at the mercy of whatever PP has in stock. Maybe they'll have the perfect color, but it will be in 120lb. This is basically the difference between a Bed Bath and Beyond coupon (65lb) and the matt at the back of a picture frame. What ends up happening when paper is that thick, is that is can be easily divided into two layers (like a fruit roll up and it's film). This is ultimately how cardstock is made, but only seems to really be a problem with these thicker weights.
So after years of being a PP devotee, I'm looking for some new options for paper. I feel a little lecherous, like I'm having a seven year (but really only three) year itch. But if I want to make the most beautifullest paper dealies I can, I need to use the paper that works the best for me.
If anyone has any hot leads, let a guy know in the comments. Otherwise, I'm a man on a hunt henceforth.
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