St Armand

About Papeterie Saint-Armand:

At their paper mill, St. Armand manufactures their Saint-Armand handmade papers and the machine-made Canal papers, as well as sanded paper Sabretooth for artists. They also make pads, books, and presentation folders, as well as invitations.

Saint-Armand handmade papers are used by artists for watercolour, pastel, and acrylic painting, as well as printmaking and more. Art restorers use them for document repairs. Limited edition printers like the texture crispness for type and Bookbinders appreciate their strength.

Before making the paper, the pulp is prepared by beating rags – mostly recycled cotton off-cuts from clothing manufacturers and also linen, flax straw, jute and sisal.

St Armand pulping is mechanical, which keeps the fibers long and pliable. The papers do not crack when folded and will resist very deep embossing. They don’t use any chemical or bleaching agents, only water and rags. For example, their white paper is made from white tee-shirt off-cuts, and blue from blue denim.

The pulp is sized with an additive – When more absorption is desired, less sizing is used. When less absorption is desired, such as in a watercolour sheet, more sizing is used. Dominion watercolour paper is sized again in gelatin for maximum holdout.

History:

David Carruthers opened the Saint-Armand paper-mill in 1979. He had left his job at Pulp & Paper Association of Canada and his knowledge of the paper trade told him that there was room for hand-made paper mills, with a dash of technology.

David came from a family associated with paper. His grandfather George Carruthers owned the Interlake Paper Mill in Ontario. He also wrote the book “Papermaking” which traces the history of 100 years of papermaking in Canada up to 1905. David’s father was a paper salesman with the family firm and had a gift to sell by the carload.

In 1992, David had the chance to buy a thousand-pound Hollander beater and a Fourdrinier paper machine. He moved his hand-mill for the fourth time to setup those machines. St. Armand was re-inventing the Industrial age on the shores of the Lachine Canal, the cradle of Canadian Industry.

David judged this expansion necessary due to the threat of cheap imported paper. The machine helped them fill larger orders for annual report covers, wallpaper, artist pads and packaging. To their surprise, the expected diminution of handmade production didn’t happen. On the contrary, they had to expand their handmade operation.

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