It is becoming challenging to get good archival papers for painting and printmaking. Cotton prices are increasing. Manufacturing is decreasing. Discerning artists are telling us tried and true papers are underperforming. While seeking alternatives, we’ve stumble across something quite different. It needs to be tried in many different ways with many different mediums, but its novelty invites experimentation and we believe its potential will fuel innovation.
Introducing Evolon! It is a high-tech, nonwoven, split microfiber sheet made from pure polyester and pure nylon and nothing else; no plasticizers, no additives, and no fillers. It is a fabric that feels like velvety paper but when you wet it and wring it out or launder it, it will turn from a paper-like sheet into a soft, sewable fabric. You can paint, dye, print, and heat distress Evolon. It will not fray when cut with scissors; it can also be cut using a soldering iron (ventilation required). It excels as a base for stitching, by hand or machine, and works well layered with sheer elements above it. It can be ironed smooth, too.
Is it archival? Yes. In fact, it raises the bar on what is archival. It is archival, inert, UV resistant, non-yellowing, and mite-proof. Unlike paper it will not tear. Wrinkles and dents can be removed by ironing. It travels well — great for plein-air drawing and painting — and finished art can be easily shipped with less fear of damage.
Can it handle water? It surely can. It can blot up to 5 times its weight of water. A perfect paper to dampen like Japanese washi papers for printmaking. You can mist it; you can alternate one dipped and one dry sheet, and press them together by hand for an instant dampening result; or you can wet pack it and keep it wet for weeks. It is remarkably mould resistant. It always dries rapidly and remains absolutely flat.
Printmakers will love this surface! This is a large-format affordable paper. It comes in rolls 80” wide and 10 yards long. Steamroller prints or murals anyone? Evolon is impossible to tear, difficult to wrinkle, and acid free. It absorbs ink like a sponge so printing a block or plate is a piece of cake! It loves ink no matter what plate you serve it on – intaglio, litho, letterpress or monoprint. It maintains perfect registration without stretching. Some inks can even print dry. Check out www.Bigink.org, where collaboration with artists, community organizations, and the public produced large-scale black and white woodcuts for exhibition and educational purposes.
Oil painters and acrylic artists will love it too! It can be stretched like canvas and is environmentally stable so it will not sag. It does not need to be primed since linseed oil won’t hurt it. Thin, liquid colours will sink into the surface for interesting staining effects. The surface can also be sealed with just one coat of gesso to ensure colour pops boldly and does not sink in or dull out. Whatever your choice of medium Evolon is light weight and packs well for travel and outdoor use.
Mural painters rejoice! There are true economic savings using this surface for outdoor, large-format projects. No need for panels, boards, nor expensive installation. Evolon can be glued to an exterior surface using acrylic gel and then varnished like a regular mural. Artist Pedro Rodriguez has been using this material for years and for several outdoor projects. “I can work really large in my small studio,” says Rodriguez. “I do not need to rent a large space to make large work. I can paint on smaller pieces and tile them together during the installation. My art ships easily around the world.”
Watercolour and Ink. The absorbent nature of this fabric wicks colour deep into the surface. Bleeding, halos and caterpillar edges are just some of the happy accidents you will discover. Wet into wet techniques have unlimited flow and the paper does not move at all. This means no wrinkles, no buckles no warping. Details and crisp edges are tricky and can only be done with a light touch of a heavily pigments dry brush. Watercolours on this surface look unique.
Inkjet printing. Evolon is widely used in the commercial printing industry. In a home studio Evolon can be used for inkjet printing but since it is an untreated surface, as opposed to one treated to optimize inkjet printing, you’ll see major differences – the colours aren’t as saturated, and they may even shift, and the resolution (line sharpness) isn’t as good. Think of the difference when you print a photo on untreated computer printer paper, compared to printing on quality photo paper. Prepping the surface with Golden Digital Ground or InkAid will increase colour saturation and make fine lines darker.
It comes in sample packages of 8.5 x 11″, 2 2x 30″, and roll 80″ wide by 10 yards.
Three weights are available – 58 gsm, 98 gsm, and 168 gsm.