Sunday, January 15, 2012

making masa ready


My paper order arrived from New York City. The masa came in standard sheets measuring 21 by 31 inches. (above) For my next project I require sizes 12 by 10 inches and 18 by 15 inches. Steel ruler in hand I measured each sheet, made pencil marks, and tore the sheets to the needed sizes. The uneven torn edge is important to that project. Click on 3 minute video.

Masa is a white paper, made by machine out of 100% sulphite. Sulphite is a chemical wood-pulp obtained by cutting wood into small pieces and cooking it with calcium bisulphate or sodium sulphite to remove natural resins and break down the cellulose fibers. While sulphite does have a short fiber, it increases bulk, softness, and absorbency, which are important qualities for a variety of techniques.  Masa has a neutral pH. It is smooth on one side with a light texture on the other. It weighs 77 gsm. To give you an idea of its weight, tracing paper is 30 gsm, a standard bond eucalyptus paper used for typing is 75 gsm, and a heavy etching paper such as Rives or Arches is typically 250 gsm. When hand printing is used, lighter weight sheets are easier to burnish and transfer more ink from the plate or block. (courtesy of New York Central Fine Art Papers, 62 Third Avenue, New York, New York,, accessed January 19, 2012)

Next, comes adjustments to my registration guides.

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