Paper Rush

You’d think that after 16 years of selling millions of sheets of I would be somewhat jaded by paper. I found out today this was (thankfully) not the case. In August I decided (impulsively) to order a new type of paper from a paper mill that I had never worked with before. Custom paper is not something possible on a small scale, so I was putting thousands of dollars on the line.

I knew of this mill only from a swatchbook given to me (by whom? I have no idea) about eight years ago. The feel of the paper was soft and stuck in my mind because it felt “arty” and “cottony” despite being a commercial, 100% recycled stock. In the intervening years I never found the occasion to order paper from them, though. When I started to think about doing this in August, I was so relieved to find this small Wisconsin mill was still in business–the last eight years have seen more papers mills shut down than stay open, it seems. I called them to get an up-to-date swatchbook, and (bless their hearts) they informed me that my eight year old copy was the up-to-date swatchbook. After a brief exchange of emails I rolled the dice…and then had to wait four weeks to figure out whether I had been totally reckless or not.

I could barely contain myself when the pallets of paper arrived today, and I really didn’t know what to expect. The paper was absolutely beautiful, soft to the touch, and made from 100% recycled, 50% post-consumer fiber. For some reason I ordered a huge squarish sheet, so one of the first things I did was tear it into a manageable size to take to the light booth. I heard someone quip, “Well, it tears well.” I wonder if I looked upset, but the opposite was true. It felt just right. I mean it felt just right, after all the waiting and uncertainty.

This is one mill I’ll be using again. I’m not one to keep quiet about a good thing, so I’m happy to recommend the Whiting Paper Company of Menasha, Wisconsin. Their specialty is small orders of recycled paper, so if you’re a printer you might consider making a house grade with them. With custom orders, you don’t have to involve paper merchant. Mmm hmm. And what a rush.