Yesterday we had a delightful start to the day, as a small group of paper and print enthusiasts gathered together at Supersense (previously written about here) at the invitation of Europapier and Gmund, to learn more about the special properties of the versatile and beautiful Gmund Urban, Leather, and Stone paper qualities.
After an insightful introduction of each design collection, we were all itching at the chance to put these papers in play, and we didn’t have to wait long as it was time for the workshops. We were split into two groups, one leaving to visit the Supersense printing house across the street, where we had the change to learn about Letterpress, Screenprinting, and Collotype at first hand, while the other group stayed at the Supersense shop, discovering the intriguing Lift-it technique and smaller scale Letterpress printing machine.
“Vibrant cities, breathtaking architecture and urban objects – all that is Gmund Urban.” Inspired by contemporary architecture in international metropolises, Gmund Paper Mill has created a trailblazing collection of papers in a stunning monochrome color scheme: Gmund Urban
The minimal, straightforward collection includes 3 styles: Architect, Cement, and Brasilia, in a palette of warm and dusty tones: Dust, Powder, Grey, and Black. What makes the collection special is the texture and haptic experience created by authentically emulating the substances, with even genuine pulverized cement added to the Cement paper giving it a rough, chapped feel. Furthermore, upon holding it under sunlight, the cement particles have a subtle shine effect, which enriches the experience. While the Architect paper has a uniquely smooth, serene and geometrically pleasing surface sure to be loved by designers, and the Brasilia’s woody texture is pleasant to the touch reminding of the velvet-like feeling of burned wood.
Supersense printing house
At the printing house, we were greeted by Anna and Emanuel, and rows of drawers full of meticulously organized wooden and metallic letterpress letter blocks. It’s hard to imagine, that previously each letter had to be arranged by hand, backward, so the print came off the right way – a tedious and time-consuming job. Nowadays, luckily, Supersense is able to use a stencil by which they organize the words with the help of a keyboard, the advantage being that if you need to do a correction, you just have to redo one row, not the whole arrangement.
Supersense celebrates everything analog, and their main business is creating beautiful record covers, by use of the linoleum print. They carve around the motive so that what stands out is printed. For each color, a new setup has to be made, so if there are more colors in a print, they print them one at a time and create a different linoleum stencil for each one. In the records case, the print takes place on paper and board, but this process can also be realized on copper, aluminum, or even rubber.
We were also introduced to Collotype, a dichromate-based multi-stage photographic process used for large-volume mechanical printing, popular prior to the introduction of cheaper offset lithography. For example, many old postcards are collotypes. The process starts with the collotype plate being created by coating a plate of glass or metal with gelatin (or another colloid) and letting it harder. Another coat of dichromated gelatin is then applied, dried and washed off, in carefully controlled temperatures. The plate is covered with the print negative, exposed to UV light which changes the ability of the exposed gelatin to absorb water, and then carefully developed by washing out the dichromate salt and dried without heat before being print ready.
“Strong and impressive – Gmund Stone is a textured, natural paper in a stone look and feel. The collection comes in four main colors: Quartz, a white shade, Brilliant, with a shimmering shine, Slate, a grey shade , and Carbon in black colour. The Stone Robust versions have water and grease repellent qualities, allowing everything that goes through many hands to stay attractive for longer.
After the tour we got our hand dirty, so to say, and had a go letterpress printing. Inspired by the stars of the day, we printed stylish posters on Gmund Stone paper, with an S / T / O / N / E type design. First, what seemed to be the hardest task, we chose, prepared and mixed the colors, which were rubber based. Then, carefully applied the paint to the wood stencil surface of the printer with an ink roller. Here you had to press hard, spreading the paint letter by letter (if you’re creative, you can mix more than one color, or have each letter in a different color). The paper was fixed, then rolled over the wood stencil, creating an impression on the paper. In this case, the Stone paper structure made a really interesting vintage effect, as the print was not uniform in all places.
We also had fun creating vouchers out of Gmund Leather Tangerine, Peacock and Coin, as well as Gmund Urban Cement Dust Grey and Gmund Urban Brasilia Grey with screen printing. The technique was simple: water-based colors are applied on to a mesh-screen with a stencil on it and a squeegee is used to pull the ink along the full length of the screen. This presses the ink through the open areas of the stencil, imprinting the design on the product underneath. With the technique enabling fast execution, everyone had fun with it, and not soon after, dozens of vouchers were drying off on the rack.
“It feels leather – not like leather.” Working together with historically famous leather makers from Great Britain, Gmund has developed Gmund Leather, the world’s first paper with the genuine texture of natural leather. Each paper is stylishly embossed to make the craft feel couture, the elegant evoke deluxe and the vintage return to vogue.
What is truly special about this paper, and unlike all other papers with a leather surface, is that during the production, the paper is embossed three times, in order to achieve the genuine texture, 3D feel, and depth of natural leather. An unforgettable visual and tactile experience. The Gmund Leather range comes in 12 perfect colors inspired by hues used in the leather and fashion industries: 10 natural textures and 2 metallic textures, who have a further line structure to create a stronger reflection. Furthermore, true to the origin of the collection, the names of the colors are borrowed from the classical British color vocabulary, therefore “Alabaster” is used for a creamy white tone, “Tangerine” for an orange nuance, “Lipstick” for a coral red shade, “Peacock” for a shade of petrol blue and so on. You can delight yourself with the full range of colors here.
Transferring a Polaroid photo onto paper with the Lift-it technique
Back at Supersense, we had more fun experimenting and crafting. First, we were handed Polaroid cameras and told to shoot whatever we liked, resulting in some artistic shots of the beautiful architectural details of the space, and of course, each other.
After the photos were fully developed, we learned how to transfer the images on to paper with the Lift-it technique: the sides of the Polaroid are cut off and the image is immersed in luke-warm water, till the film is all that remains. Patience is needed, as this is a delicate process.
A small brush can be used to help separate the film from the paper. The process happens fully underwater. Afterward, the film floats in the water, similar to waves, and can be reapplied on a new paper surface, we used Gmund Urban Cement dust. However, it can also be applied to glass, plastic, metal and in winter, and funnily enough, it can be used to create unique Christmas globes.
Last but not least, you could try your hand at the smaller Letterpress at the shop, creating complimentary „Urban Wishes“ cards. Actioned by foot, the machine prints max A4 format but is always at the go if you feel an urgent need for Letterpress. The cards were printed in beautiful gold on Gmund Urban Architect Dust, Powder, Grey, and Black.
Overall, it was an inspiring, educational, and most importantly, fun-filled morning with like-minded paper enthusiasts at a stunning location!
Gmund Urban, Gmund Leather and Gmund Stone are all exclusively available at Europapier.