My favourite paper

I occasionally get asked about the materials I use for my handprinted reduction prints. My favourite paper is Zerkall, made near the Rur River in Cologne, Germany. It’s heavy enough to take quite a few layers of colour and has a lovely delicate grain that gives my prints a dreamy vintage style that people tend to compliment on when they see my work in real life.

Detail of the lovely texture I get from using zerkall paper

When I was contacted by intaglio printmakers to tell me that my favourite paper has been discontinued, I was so disappointed and worried! I have tried lots of paper brands, and zerkall was the perfect paper for me. How can I replace it? Now I have to go back to experimenting with new paper types (cue the sound of tiny violins).

The zerkall paper mill plant

I did a bit of digging online and I read that Papierfabrik Zerkall are no longer producing their gorgeous hand-made paper because the mill was heavily damaged by the massive flooding in July 2021. The flood put its paper machine out of operation. Areas of production, administration and storage were destroyed. The German government were willing to give some funding to rebuild the plant, but the owners decided that due to diminishing sales that they would close the mill permanently. Such a shame, as there has been a paper mill on that site since the 16th century.

It’s strange to think how a combination of market forces and global warming have contributed to the demise of my favourite paper. In the grand scheme of things it’s small compared to losing your livelihood, so I really shouldn’t complain.

If anyone has any suggestions for alternative papers I would love to know! I would love to hear from you

Published by MStraccia Art

I create original folk style relief prints and illustrations by hand.

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