I have an interest in longevity issues exceeding normal expectations, for work appropriate for collections. It’s not that most of our processes and materials aren’t suitable for that, but for various reasons I’m interested in maximizing it. One reason is- unknowns. We have a relatively new process, compared to traditional processes, and we have yet to see many examples of these thing’s end-of-life. One major issue we DO know about, and have from the beginning, inkjet coating’s vulnerability for phenolic yellowing. This issue is big and deserves a full post, but this is not that… Another major issue is the surface delicacy of the coatings. All this has lead me to work with and experiment with fine art uncoated papers. Cone’s continuing evolution of HDMK works amazingly well on several uncoated surfaces, and in fact, I’ve reached Dmax on several papers over 1.6. While not as impressive as HDMK on coated papers, it’s above what we used to get an may premier coated papers with older MK inks, Epson or Cone. SInce Dmax might be one of the deal breaking issues in the past, seems to me it’s a non issue now, good times for fine art printers. With proper setup, which we can get into, there is no significant compromise with dmax, many historical beautiful papers become viable for us, and they are more durable. You can actually touch the image surface, even stack prints without interleave (carefully), and there’s every reason to expect longevity rivaling historical etchings etc… Of course then ink choice becomes part of all this. OK so long intro…
I want to wrap up with a few suggestions of papers I’ve had good results with lately-
Arches Watercolor always worked well, I’ve used it a fair bit. Warm, even the “bright white” which I believe is bleached. The hot press is too card like for me, the other surfaces a bit much but great for much work.
Rives BFK looks great, clean white, beautiful subtle surface.
Somerset Velvet Radiant White, one of our first papers for Iris and Piezography, which I believe Jon had a hand in developing, is back on the table, a beautiful paper. Unfortunately brightened (more later), nice weave like texture, not too much.
Lastly a gorgeous little thick Japanese paper, Fuji Shikishi White, Natural. Heavy hard texture but beautiful. I’m loving small prints these days, this is a perfect size with a full deckle.
So my first inclination was for any of us interested and trying alternative papers, to exchange info on papers that are working out and looking good. Process and RIP setup can come along if interest remains.
A few experiences- Uncoated papers are softer and have more surface lint, prebrushing is essential, and cleaning under the head is necessary more often that normal inkjet papers, a nice mud made of thrown up paper lint and ink builds up pretty easily. Rippling from wet absorption is an issue for some papers, requiring flattening. Walker taught me about reverse rolling after printing, which worked, but the most absorbent required misting the back first.
OK, we’ll see if there’s any interest in continuing this. Any great papers you’d like to pass on, please do. I have more as well, but this got pretty long as an intro