started as a collaboration between departments at the University of
Wisconsin-Stevens Point has expanded to a partnership with a major national
supplier of high quality art papers.
Paper is now being marketed by Strathmore Artist
Papers™. The Strathmore® brand of artist papers
has been used to create art for over 120 years.
agreement brings a new range of fine art papers to market and provides an
additional revenue source for several Wisconsin companies,” said Paul Fowler,
director of the Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology. WIST had been
involved in marketing the paper, developed by other UW-Stevens Point
stars aligned,” Fowler said. “A private company from Wisconsin came to us. They
saw an unmet market need for great value, high-quality paper. We were able to
meet the need, not competing, but facilitating.”
is a division of Pacon Corporation, Appleton. Pacon is a leading producer and
marketer of paper products for education, including construction paper and
other teacher resources.
representatives contacted WIST last winter, inquiring about collaborating on
two additional grades of printmaking art paper. Gerry Ring, retired Paper
Science and Engineering Department chair, narrowed a list of pulps in various
fiber types, then worked with Strathmore and UW-Stevens Point colleagues to
develop the new grades of non-cotton paper.
liked the fact that they didn’t have to put the money upfront developing it,”
Fowler said. WIST focuses on research and development of sustainable products
and processes, working with industries to bring them to market. Fowler sees it
as a pump-priming role.
The original RiverPoint paper is branded as 500 Series
RiverPoint Cotton Printmaking and will continue to be made exclusively on
UW-Stevens Point’s paper machine. It anchors the new line of printmaking papers
from Strathmore Artist Papers. The new grades, Strathmore 300 Series
Lightweight and 400 Series Heavyweight, are made by a Wisconsin paper mill.
“Anytime new grades of paper are manufactured in Wisconsin,
paper mill jobs are retained or created,” Fowler said. “We wanted to ensure this was a
$1.45 million UW System Economic Development Incentive Grant made this
possible, he said. It funded enhancements to the pilot paper machine for
specialty paper and packaging and included development of two additional paper
Point will receive royalties on paper sold during the next five years, which
will be reinvested in educational programs and infrastructure. UW-Stevens Point
will continue to make its cotton fiber grade of RiverPoint Paper for student
use on campus as part of the agreement.
Paper was born after UW-Stevens Point Art and
Design Professor Bob Erickson asked Paper Science and Engineering colleagues if
they could make fine art paper. The Paper Science and Engineering Department is
home to the world’s largest student-run pilot paper machine.
His goal was to create a high-quality archival art paper at an
economical cost for students. At the time they were paying about $5 per sheet
for a French cotton fiber paper.
Art faculty provided paper samples and described what they
needed. Paper Science and Engineering produced paper in small trial runs, which
art students and faculty tested for quality and performance with various media.
After several tries, an art paper was created that met needs for performance,
texture and strength specifically for printmaking.
“Initially, the biggest challenge we had in producing the paper
was translating how the artists described the properties they needed into
properties we could measure with the testing instruments we have,” said Karyn
Biasca, Paper Science and Engineering chair.
RiverPoint Paper was so well received by UW-Stevens Point art
students and faculty that WIST began making it available more widely in 2013.
Interest in the new paper led to a collaboration with Strathmore Artist Papers
to market and distribute RiverPoint and to develop additional paper grades.
Point art and design students provided artwork for consideration as the cover
of the Strathmore papers. Strathmore representatives selected art by UW-Stevens Point student Lanea Zagrezebski, Rudolph, for
the 300 Series pads. Art on the 500 Series is by UW-Stevens Point graduate
Shawn Ganther. Their names and UW-Stevens Point are credited
on every retail pack.
will market the paper throughout North America, and the complete line of printmaking papers will be available at fine art and
craft stores and chains to meet growing interest in making prints.
Strathmore® and Strathmore Artist Papers™ used under license
from Mohawk Fine Papers Inc. RiverPoint® is a registered trademark of the Board
of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System d/b/a University of Wisconsin-Stevens