Clairefontaine Blog Series
As we mentioned in our last blog, Clairefontaine has a reputation that is exceptional when it comes to their paper production as they control every stage of manufacturing. Their machines include a sensor which is constantly checking the products quality and uses a multitude of parameters including; the material that is used, mechanical (things like tears), optical (whiteness and opacity) and texture (surface finish and gsm). Having control over the whole manufacturing process means that they have been able to source their materials exclusively from sustainable forests, making it PEFC and FSC certified. It uses its own water treatment plant as well creating 80% of its own electrical power.
Using a machine in the Clairefontaine Paper Mill to check quality control
It’s clear to see that being eco-friendly plays a large factor within the Clairefontaine company strategy. Not only do they control every stage of manufacturing to a point of perfection, but they also control its environment when producing their paper by using a set of very specific ecological criteria that includes; energy consumption, air pollution, limited use of volatile organic compounds like inks, waste treatment and that the finished product has to be 100% recyclable made from renewable materials. They are also the only company who produces paper within France, guaranteeing a consistent product whilst also protecting the environment even further.
Clairefontaine produces the paper on two different machines that vary depending on what paper you desire. The first is a flat machine to create things like smooth card. Being an innovative company, the second machine is a specialist piece of equipment for their unique grained paper. This machinery is the only hybrid in the world, and is a mixture between the flat and mould-made machines. Creating a unique piece of equipment makes them pioneers in this field as well as leaders in paper production on a global scale.
Clairefontaine's Specialised Machine
Not only do they use quality machines, they also are very specific when choosing the right material. Each page contains long natural unbleached virgin fibres which makes the paper 100% natural and bio-degradable. These fibres also provide paper that has a higher absorbency rate and better colour retention which means they work great as a mixed media sketchbook. Although Clairefontaine could easily use recycled paper, it would only be able to be re-used a number of times. Virgin paper is a lot more hygienic as it can be burnt and turned into energy compared to relying on fossil fuels. Additionally it is also necessary to continue the use of these paper products as without the production of virgin fibres, the world would run out of paper quickly.
Adopting to use a size with a neutral pH during its production, the papers are genuinely acid-free. As the active acid pulp is eliminated during the process of creating acid-free paper it also becomes lignin (organic polymers that form key structural materials in the support tissues of some plants and algae) and sulphur (chemical element) free. All papers are sized, but the paper for wet techniques needs to be sized internally as well as on the surface. This means it will highly reduce or eliminate bleeding from ink and paint. Sizing also protects the fibres of the paper from breaking down due to oxidation and also adds an adhesive quality and strength.
Clairefontaine's Pastelmat Paper
Clairefontaine is very focused on providing sustainable products and they do try to use a starch-size alternative where possible, however, there is an exception within some of the range for which they use a gelatine-size meaning it is not vegan-friendly. One vegan-friendly option within their range is Pastelmat Paper. An exceptional paper for pastels and charcoal that has a velvet finish and is smooth to touch. It is the only pastel card with a specific surface retaining pigments. As far as Clairefontaine are aware, the nearest competitor makes it’s card the similar way as ‘glass paper’ with non-vegan friendly elements.
It is clear to see that Clairefontaine strives to create a high quality product from the natural materials they use as well as wanting to do it in a way that protects the environment. Using some of the best natural fibres that can be responsibly sourced leads to some of the most superior and perfect paper on the market. Not only does this brand use exquisite materials but they have created an extraordinary, one-of-a-kind machine exclusive to Clairefontaine. All of which leads to a brand that produces professional artist quality paper whilst protecting the environment and dominating the market.
Want to know more about this brand? Check out part three of our Clairefontaine series which explores some of the products and their uses.
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