Making Paper at Twinrocker

Brookston only has a population of 1,500, but is home to one of the most unique businesses in Indiana, Twinrocker Handmade Paper. With only 4 employees and tucked away in a quiet Indiana town, this business produces one of the highest quality fine art papers on the market.  Just one of the things that makes them unique is that with pretty much only word of mouth advertising they have made paper for an impressive list of clients, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Chuck Close, Sol Lewitt, Mel Bochner, Steven Scott Young and countless others.

Brookston

twinrocker

This trip to the paper mill was a bit different than normal.  In the past I have made paper on a few of my trips but recently Travis (Owner & Master Papermaker) asked me if I would be interested in adding a watermark of my logo to the papers I make at the mill.  It was an easy yes and I have been excited to get up to Brookston since.

Old watermarks

Some old Twinrocker watermarks.

watermark 01

Twinrocker sent my logo off to have this watermark made and after a bit of cleaning, Travis sewed it onto the paper mould.

cropped

Here I’m making 16×21″ white watercolor paper with an exaggerated feather deckle.  Definitely one of my favorite sizes to paint on.

Gerald

Gerald is the only other papermaker at Twinrocker besides the Master Papermaker, Travis.

Gerald and my paper

This is Gerald pulling & stacking my first 50 sheets of paper off the felts.  Twinrocker takes quality control very seriously.  Here he is hand picking a spec of dirt out of the paper.  This gets done to every single sheet of Twinrocker made!! When he finished going through my paper he reported that I might have 4 of the 50 sheets that would be up to the Twinrocker standard and meet the qualifications for a sheet of Light Art Weight Watercolor Paper.  To meet this standard a sheet would have to have perfect paper structure, would weigh of 260 g/m², and have a thickness of .012″-.017″ when tested on the micrometer.  But neither of these last 2 tests can be completed until the 2-3 week drying time is complete.   Making 1 perfect piece of paper, not too difficult, but with every additional sheet, it becomes increasingly more difficult to successfully make. This is because they make posts of paper 50 sheets at a time.  If you mess up on the registration (essentially not putting the top sheet of paper exactly on top of the one beneath) all the rest of the sheets could potentially be affected and since it is so watery & fragile, once the stack gets bigger & bigger the sides of the paper could sag or fall or not make contact with the felt below.  This is where I messed up on my first post.  At first I had my hands in the wrong position and I was pressing too hard with my leading hand when “couching” the paper and it would blow out the edge almost every time.  This doesn’t exactly make the paper useless, it just means Twinrocker couldn’t & wouldn’t sell it.

twinrocker justin

As always I had so much fun at the mill & always love hanging out in Brookston.