View Full Version : Making non-traditional paper archival?

Berin Loritsch
13-Nov-2008, 15:48
I want to experiment with Liquid Light or Kentmere emulsion on some non traditional papers, and the kind of paper I want typically doesn't specify it's archival qualities. I.e. acid-free, lignin-free, etc. The paper in question is shoji paper, which has been used for calligraphy, block prints, and shoji screens (the white Japanese screens). I've found some suppliers that sell paper thick and strong enough to deal with the photographic chemicals, but I want an reasonable expectation of the life of the print.

I did find some "PaperSaver deacidification spray" that looked like it might help ensure better archival qualities (http://www.archivalsuppliers.com/prodinfo.asp?number=127-PSAVER). How well does something like that work? Particularly if the paper is .4mm or 1mm thick (structurally sound)?

Of course, I'm also concerned about the residual chemistry that would be trapped in the extra thick paper. I'm guessing some really long wash times which might affect the suitability of the paper I'm looking at. A type of the shoji paper, mulberry, is typically really thin and might not be strong enough to deal with the chemistry. I'm trying to find a happy medium. If I'm going to sell prints made on this kind of paper I don't want something so fragile that it can be physically damaged easily.

Any pointers would be quite appreciated.

14-Nov-2008, 10:46
Most Japanese papers are acidfree, being made from high quality materials. There can always be exceptions in this new world of “machine made” Japanese paper. Formerly, before the mid-1980's, the "named" Japanese papers were all handmade using exemplary materials and technique. Today, similar “looking” papers are made all over the world and called some tradition Japanese paper name such as Sikisu, Okawara or Gampi.

“Shoji” paper suggests a lower quality product, because it is a non-tradition “name” but still part of the Japanese “tradition with paper.” I guess it was intended for used with everyday building of indoor panels. When bought from "traditional" suppliers such as Haromi Paper International (310-998-0098) http://www.hiromipaper.com/hpi_about_washi.htm,
they will tell you everything you need to know including if it is machine made and acid free. I used to use the supplier “Paper Nao,” in Japan, http://travel.yahoo.com/p-travelguide-12790996-paper_nao_tokyo-i, but I have switched over to Hiromi because I get things overnight from Santa Monica.

PaperMakers deacidification spray is fine, and will solve many problems. But if you get the paper wet most of it will dissolve into the chemicals, move out in a bath or possibly even interfere with processing. You’d have to spray after all processing and only on the reverse. Better to start with good paper as you suggest.

Tim Vitale
Paper, Photographs &
Electronic Media Conservator
Film Migration (still) to Digital Format
Digital Imaging & Artwork Facsimiles
Preservation & Imaging Consulting
Preservation Associates
1500 Park Avenue
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510-594-8799 fax
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Albumen website (2001) http://albumen.stanford.edu/
VideoPreservation Website (2007) http://videopreservation.stanford.edu

matthew blais
14-Nov-2008, 14:10
Not sure whether archival qualities are discussed, but Emil Schildt in Denmark does a lot of liquid stuff and has info about each process on his site.
It may help, maybe not


Berin Loritsch
16-Nov-2008, 10:42
Thank you for your responses. This gives me some idea of how to move forward with the project. Also, thank you for the link to hiromi paper. This was very helpful.