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Like the entirety of Canson papers, the new Arches range of 100% cotton rag matte papers are completely acid and optical brightener free, and manufactured using the traditional cylinder mould process.
The cylinder mould process produces a high grade paper which is extremely stable (won't deform when wet) and very similar in structure and quality to handmade paper, but without the drawback of irregularities.
Arches are the oldest paper mill in France and one of the oldest in the world. Their traditional art papers have been beloved by artists of all kinds for centuries, and can be found in just about every art supplies store in the world today.
There are some lovely new digital options here - but read on to see why these are really more 'old friends' than genuinely new papers!
When Canson digital (inkjet) papers first came along, many of them used Arches papers as the base stock.
At some point (around 2015 or so, if I recall correctly?) - Canson and Arches had a significant falling out, and Canson were forced to go to another paper mill for their base stock.
Very unfortunately, Canson decided NOT to tell customers about this, and took the distinctly sneaky approach of just changing their entire range, but not notifying customers.
Thus, for a period of about a year we got a LOT of calls from customers about papers from older boxes being very different to new boxes. This was far from ideal, and of course many folks doing serious printing swore off Canson forever more (and we here at Image Science moved off all Canson papers at the time, too - especially so as Ilford was busy releasing very similar/better papers at lower prices at the time!). It lingers in memory as the most significant corporate level dodgy in the fine art inkjet market I can remember...
In the last year or so, Canson and Arches seem to have mended their relationship, and hence we now see these new Arches branded papers back in the Canson range. At least this time they labelled them rather than just try to sneak their way through it!
In the end, I suppose the history doesn't really matter - and especially so if you're just a casual printer and not trying to manage edition prints across several years, for example. Going forward, we have lovely Arches base materials, coated and sold by Canson, once again. The materials certainly are nice, and fingers crossed the relationship lasts this time!
It's lovely to see real Aquarelle and BFK Rives back and available for photo, art and art reproduction printing.
Based on the prestigious Arches 88 fine art screen-printing paper, the Canson Arches inkjet version has the same silky smooth surface texture and bright white base tone that marks it an excellent, all-purpose choice for high definition printmaking, photography and illustration reproduction. The substrate material is composed of 100% cotton, and the paper is wonderfully soft and supple to the touch. Due to it's high quality inkjet coating and pure white tone, Canson Arches 88 delivers excellent contrast and bright highlights, and is one of the purest white fine art inkjet papers on the market to not contain optical brighteners.
The iconic Arches Aquarelle Rag paper has become almost legendary in it's reputation for being one of the finest watercolour papers in the world, and as such makes this an excellent choice for watercolour and traditional illustration reproduction. The original Aquarelle Rag 100% cotton base paper provides a lovely fine grained texture with a natural appearance, which is considerably less pronounced than the courser texture of the Canson Aquarelle Rag. Despite being completely free of optical brightener agents, the Arches Aquarelle Rag has a pure white tone and the inkjet coating offers punchy contrast, crisp highlights and a superb range of tonality.
The original Arches BFK Rives, one of the most popular choices for fine art printmaking, is a smooth matte paper beloved for it's evenly balanced, soft grain surface texture and sumptuous, supple feel. An excellent option for museum-grade exhibition and portfolio printing, Arches BFK Rives inkjet paper comes in both pure white and warm-toned options which will appeal to a wide range of artists and photographers working across both traditional and digital mediums. Like the rest of the Arches range, BFK Rives is composed of 100% cotton rag and the excellent inkjet coating will impress with it's faithfully reproduced subtle mid tones, true blacks and natural white highlights.
This handy little sample pack allows you to taste test the entire new Arches range without the commitment of purchasing a full box! Each pack includes 2 sheets of each Arches paper type and are back-labelled for your convenience.
- Jeff R -
Thanks for the profiles. I knew there would be a difference because everything I've read said there would be, but I guess seeing is believing. Even though I expected a difference I'm astonished at the difference in output quality - well worth the expense.