www.TheArtCanvas.net – Creativity is a tricky endeavor. To get the right look, you need the right materials. As any artist knows, anything can serve as a canvas, but for the truly exquisite look, you need something special. In this short guide, well explain some of the art and craft products available and some possible applications for these products.

Curious iridescent paper is certainly one of the oddest products on the market today. Normally, embossed iridescent paper is not so much a paper, but more like plastic or a thin, flexible and colorful metal, and as such, is well suited for sculpting and other crafts. Iridescent paper is often made by foil stamping and lasers on light-sensitive chemicals, and can only be used as a writing media with dry-erase or permanent marker. Curious iridescent paper, however, will absorb ink and can be used for any variety of projects from drawing, painting and writing to crafts such as collages, paper mache sculptures and scrapbooks with a little extra flair and texture.

Vellum makes a unique, translucent, and slightly iridescent paper for accenting crafts. Originally made from animal skin for scrolls, vellum has remained in common use to this day, especially in England, where British Acts of Parliament are still printed on nothing but vellum paper. Most modern vellum imitation is made from acid free cotton and is perfect for calligraphy and other projects requiring an antique or rustic look. Thin vellum paper and glue make a beautiful laminate for crafts such as scrapbooks and leaf catalogues.

One of the medium vellum cardstocks of note is Bristol paper, a smooth, heavy pasteboard of fine quality. Originally made from pasted rag paper in Bristol, England, this hard stock is often the choice paper for technical drawings, but offers intriguing creative possibilities. Bristol is unique in that it is thick enough to have two working surfaces “front and back” that will not interfere with each other and each side can serve as its own writing or drawing surface. Artists working with friction-based media, such as crayon, chalk, or charcoal will want to use a rougher texture board, while smooth finishes are generally more suited to other types of media, such as inks and watercolor.

For a breathtaking and unique look, silk paper provides a strong yet soft alternative to more mainstream options. Silk crafters have been making paper since the 2nd century, B.C.E., and it has stood the test of time. Originally a product of China, it is the oldest of all luxury papers and is still in major use today throughout the world. It is truly amazing to witness the limitless creative uses artists and craft persons have found for silk paper. Machine embroidery, three-dimensional sculpture, jewelry, quilting, book coverings, collage, and mixed media are just a few of the possibilities, and the list is limited only by the artist’s imagination.

Globalization and increased efficiency in paper production opens up a whole new world of possibilities to today’s artist. While at times the sheer bewildering array of new papers may seem overwhelming, for the professional artist or graphic designer who is willing to take the time to explore such oddities as McCoy silk papers, Curious iridescents, or Springhill vellum bristol, the results can be quite gratifying.