Serendipity and scratches

Serendipity is alive and well. Ordering two boxes of paper from a new supplier – or rather directly from the same supplier instead of via Amazon – I managed to confuse myself over the infinite varieties of Canson Infinity. Blinded by the 310 gsm weight, I ended up ordering the Aquarelle paper instead of my beloved Velin. Both are archival but I was horrified to see that the Aquarelle was more textured (and even more expensive). How would this paper cope with the clean lines that characterize the designs?

There seemed little point in trying to arrange replacement, with the cost of postage both ways, so I decided to sacrifice one of the boxes with a test print. The result was simply wonderful. The design lost none of the sharpness but viewed close up it seemed almost to float above the surface of the paper. We’ll see if there’s any reaction from buyers but my inclination is to stick with the Aquarelle.

Aquarelle box
It’s one of the many reminders that when you get into this game you start off thinking that it’s all about ideas and inspiration but you quickly learn that alongside those things you’re engaged in a manufacturing process, with all the pitfalls that that implies. Investing in a top line printer and keeping your software up to date is just the start of things, the other lessons usually come as the result of mistakes, and they can be painful. Crease a design by putting it down carelessly somewhere and that’s an expensive sheet and ink wasted. You spend time putting a design into a good-looking frame and then, on the way out of the house to an exhibition, the door swings to slightly, catching the corner of the frame. Your pride and joy now has either to be reframed or offered at a knock-down price. Worst of all is perspex. Many buyers don’t want glass, they prefer the safety of plastic but the damned stuff marks so easily. You can create scratches with even the wrong kind of soft cloth.

So after more than few disasters, you learn to take things slowly and carefully. Your babies are swathed in blankets before they are moved, and carried out to the car with all the attention and deliberation you would devote to moving a human newborn. Or maybe even more since, as every parent knows, human babies tend to recover from your mistakes. Framed pictures don’t.