The Twinrocker paper mill, founded on April Fool's Day of 1971 by Howard and Kathryn Clark, has been instrumental in the revival of hand papermaking in America. (They sell a complete range of hand papermaking supplies, including ready to use pulp, pigments and sizing, moulds, deckles and instructional books, videos and workshop lecturers.) Located in Brookston (near Springfield), Indiana (USA), Twinrocker specializes exclusively in a large range of art papers, including papers for charcoal, pastel, printmaking, book repair and watermedia painting in a variety of colors and furnishes; they also manufacture stock sheets for retail brands such as Daniel Smith and NY Central Art Supply. They can produce a "special making" or custom paper runs to any feasible client specification of furnish, inclusions, tinting, weight, hardness, finish and format, and can even include a custom watermark. The mill runs a subscription service to keep buyers up to date with paper samples and specials. It was also the first paper mill to launch its own web site, where you will find a highly informative video on hand papermaking.

Twinrocker White Watercolor papers are handmade, 100% cotton and cotton rag, acid free, wove finish, air dried, internally and surface sized with gelatin, four natural deckle edges, with the Twinrocker symbol (a two-sided rocking chair that resembles an anchor) embossed in one corner. The rattle is moderately loud and snappy, and brightest in the HP sheet; the papers burn to a very wispy, scanty white ash, indicating no fillers or inorganic additives. Twinrocker also offers an exaggerated, decorative 2" "feather" deckle on most of its watercolor papers: handle with care and always store these papers flat, as the deckle can be fragile. — Papers available in sheets only, in two finishes (R and CP); the CP sheets can be calendared for a slight extra charge to make an HP finish on one or both sides. Watermedia papers come in weights of 200 ("heavy text"), 255 ("light art"), 410 ("art"), 460 ("heavy art") and 650 ("board") GSM in a variety of formats; a recent check of their inventory showed the 410 GSM "art" papers available in 22 different round, square or rectangular dimensions (up to 34" x 48"). Price of a single 410 GSM regular deckle full sheet is about US$12.00.

The Rough paper has a relatively subdued, dense finish for a handmade sheet, with patterns of surface texture and surface undulations visible at many different spatial frequencies. The deckle is small, firm and gently irregular. Color is an unbiased white that displays all transparent and diluted colors with bright effect. The sizing is perfectly adjusted to permit beautifully even washes that seem to glide over rather than sink into the surface; a little wash goes a long way, yet flocculation shows up nicely and there is only a slight blossoming in finely divided pigments. In my tests the resists lifted cleanly and easily; scrubbing and resists left absolutely no marks on the paper, and the green lifted with difficulty but without damage to the surface or discoloration under repainted areas. — The Cold Pressed finish is much smoother than most commercially available CP sheets, very hard and free of lint; some may find it acceptably equivalent to a hot pressed surface. Color is approximately a middle white. As with the R sheet, the sizing is perfectly adjusted to permit beautifully even washes that seem to glide over rather than sink into the surface; a little wash goes a long way, yet flocculation shows up nicely and there is not a trace of blossoming in the magenta. Scrubbing and resists leave absolutely no marks; however color lifts with difficulty and with very slight damage to the paper (colors wick slightly into the rubbed area). — The Hot Pressed finish is a beautiful smooth surface with irregular dimpling and patches of eggshell texture scattered randomly across it; the deckle is firm and nicely scalloped. The color is a middle white, neither warm nor cool. The main differences in the HP sheet were increased flocculation and cobalt banding in the washes; slightly more pronounced blossoming in the magenta, and a faint streaking caused by the sponge scrubbing.

Overall, the Twinrocker watercolor white is one of the most impressive watercolor papers reviewed here, well worth trying out for your most ambitious projects. I have been especially impressed with the furnish and finish consistency of the sheets, the receptive quality of the surface sizing, and the brilliant appearance of watercolors on these sheets.

Don't underestimate the range of Twinrocker papers. They will produce a "special making" of papers to your specification for a minimum order of $500; for sizes up to a full sheet there is a $150 set up fee and a $250 fee for sheets larger than that. They also have many other papers in stock or in back inventory that are internally or surface sized for watercolor use. Among them are Taupe (a middle value warm gray), Heartland (a white paper with additions of natural colored fibers), and Bleached Abaca (a gentle buff white obtained through sun bleaching of abaca fibers). For more information, visit their web site, or call 1-800-757-TWIN.

Please see the page how to test watercolor papers for an explanation of my paper evaluation methods.

(410gsm R, CP, HP)