pulp nonfiction

I have a confession. I would call it small if I could fabricate some reason to convince you of it.
I have paper lust.
I have some addictions–chocolate and brownies (the camera not the confection).
Back to paper. I think the fact that I print photographs using alternative processes feeds this lust. Or perhaps the drive to seek, touch, and purchase paper creates the need to knit my photography to such processes so that my procurement of brilliant white German tracing paper is justified.
Now this lust has not found its way to gluttony. At least not in my mind. For you see, in the Spring of 2000 (or was it 2001? hmm), I purchased a tablet of said tracing paper (Beinfang Graphics 360 tracing paper for you typesetters & designers who crave a true white starkness on which to place your art). And tonight during a demonstration of image transfers, I (generously!) handed over this six year old tablet of paper so that a Polaroid could be deposited upon one of the pages. My teacher was skeptical–this was a surreptitious demonstration–and dry transfers being tricky, compounded by the lack of appropriate tools, she placed the Polaroid on its surface, gave a good rub, emphasized it’s potential for poor results & voila! Stunning. The paper shined. My teacher was shocked and nearly scrambled to note the name of this paper.
A trip to my local art supply store created yet another AHA! moment. I was on a mission and Arches Grain Satine was my objective. A hot press watercolor paper, “No such thing,” said the employee. Another chimed in that “they” didn’t carry it. Seeing my exasperation a 3rd person attempted my rescue. I explained that yes indeed it is watercolor paper. Yes it comes in a block. Yes I am sure it’s made by Arches (and has been for years, but I am getting ahead of the story now). To convince this helper I even offered that the label of said paper is peach. Poor soul, he pointed to the BRIGHT ORANGE (think hunter’s jacket) block–and remember this is an ART supply store employee. He suggested the orange block was what I was looking for. Um, no. And for the record I have been able to discern the difference between PEACH and ORANGE for quite some time now. (Thanks in part to the lovely navy blue & peach decorating trend of 1988.) Employee #3 was persistent. He went to speak to the Special Orders Lady. Their conversation went something like this:
“It’s probably not hot press paper.”
“If it is, then it’s not watercolor paper.”
“Oh wait, I think it’s something new.”
“Right, they starting making it a year or so ago.”
“Ok, so we can probably order some then.”
In my mind I interject that indeed it is a hot press watercolor paper made by Arches for some 9 years or longer..ok wait, at least 7 that I know.
My husband was with me when I stopped in to pick up my “special order.” When I recounted the story to him, and then emerged with a 7″X9″ tablet of sorts he was a little amazed. That paper had caused so much emotion. At least he was not shocked when I admitted my pretty little paper tablet cost over $30.
Oh, then there is onion skin papers and old type writing paper. When my grandfather was cleaning out his closet he invited me to sift through the detritus with him. We sorted through photos, bills, Lions club pins, business materials. I kept some documents from his days as a state officer with the Lions. (A binder with their logo holds my notes on healing.) But I digress, as I always do when my mind floats and bumps through memories. I also kept papers. Just plain old papers. Blank. Others would have trashed them, given it to the girl scouts to make art projects, or let their grandchildren write your lunch order on it when they played restaurant. Not me. Those blank pages will hold my photographs some day. Indeed, at least one page already does–a digital print of a Polaroid taken the week my second nephew was born.
Good times.
Beautiful paper.

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