Glued to both pages of this spread is a piece of the NEW FOLIO paper. This is paper called Folio, and sold by the same sources (I get mine from Jerry's Artarama), BUT it is not made the way it was before 2000/2001, when the paper I was ordering began to be different depending on whom you got it from (because people had differing amounts of stock). Since I still have used and unused journals and scraps of the original paper, it has been easy to spot the difference. There is a huge difference between the two papers. (Folio is advertised as an inexpensive but quality, substitute for printmakers working with Rives BFK.)
Despite the differences between the papers I couldn't resist the sale that Jerry's was having. I could get one hundred 22 x 30 inch sheets for about $1.30 each, including postage. So I ordered some up, hoping foolishly that it might be the old stuff and they were getting rid of old stock.
It was the new version of this paper. And so I tested it as I do all papers, on the front and back surfaces, to see if it will be suitable to work on in my journals. (It passed the folding and tearing test.) What you see on these two pages is me working on both sides of the sheet using different media and taking notes.
I find that pens that are waterproof on other papers I use bleed a little on this paper. I also find it is a bit stiff and almost resistent. It definitely doesn't have the lovely firm yet supple surface of the old Folio.
The new paper does take watercolor sufficiently well that I've gone ahead and embraced it as an entirely different paper, trying not to think about what it used to be like. (Oh, it is also a bit more yellow in color; I've always used the antique white of both versions). One side is slightly toothier, but not very noticeably so. Still, that's easily handled in bookbinding by careful collating so that the same surface ends up as facing pages across a spread.
I don't like the paper for watersoluble colored pencil, but for graphite and colored pencil it's fine. It is a nice heavy weight and great for collage.
I did contact the paper company that makes this paper and sent samples of the Old and New versions. They confirmed that the paper is now different and there is no more old stock. With that in mind I go forward with this as an inexpensive possibility for making journals.
One caveat: my package of 100 sheets arrived as advertised with 2 deckle edges and two cut edges. When the youth programs director at MCBA ordered 100 sheets of this paper on my recommendation as an inexpensive yet quality paper that we could use in the teen class I was teaching, she received a package with 4-cut edges. This is troubling to me. How do you know which you'll receive? And why is there this difference (multiple mills?). I haven't received an answer to my questions about this yet. Ask when you order the paper, if it matters to you.
On the good side: because of the low cost of this paper when bought in bulk some people might elect to use it in life drawing to do large charcoal or pencils sketches, or watercolor sketches which would be archival. If you want a quality sheet you can take inexpensives risks with this is it. Also I've found that it is great fun to use watersoluble oil pastels on it. And I have also gessoed the surface and painted in watercolor and acrylic on it. Again, it's delightful to have a large sheet to experiment with that costs less than a cup of coffee (or so I'm told as I don't drink coffee.)
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