Clairefontaine developed Pastelmat to meet the specific expectations of the most demanding pastel artists.
It is a premium 360gsm card surface with a unique velvety texture made from a fine coating of cellulose fibres, which can grab and hold multiple layers of even the softest pastels. Pastelmat’s single and original surface is a true innovation that combines the advantages of two traditional papers. The fine particles are sufficiently well-fixed for a smooth surface and comfort of use, and the smoothness of the cork grain in the adhesive ensures longevity.
Pastelmat brings new opportunities for pastel artists, offering a coarser surface than velour but a softer surface than sandpaper. It has the bonus of being gentle on both fingers and blending tools. The character “fixing” of this surface is so extraordinary that the positioning of multiple layers of pastels, and the realization of flat tints, precise details, or delicate and transparent veils are easily achieved.
Pastelmat significantly reduces the need for fixative so that colours remain vibrant. It enables you to apply multiple layers without a saturation effect. Even with blending little pastel is lost because it sits easily on the textured surface of the paper. To remove marks one can lift some pigment with a kneadable putty, but it is not advisable to use a normal eraser as it only forces the pigment into the pastelmat grain leaving it to smear. Clean paper stumps work beautifully to blend, smear or soften tones.
The rigidity, weight, and non-acidity, as well as the paper’s light resistance, guarantee the conservation of your artwork. However, it is recommended that a sheet of acid-free translucent paper be placed over finished artworks created on Pastelmat.
Although it was designed for pastellists, Pastelmat is suitable for all dry media, from pastel sticks, PanPastel and pencils to charcoal. It is also water-resistant which means that it can be used with wet media such as acrylics or watercolour washes and mixed media techniques. Drying can take long and transparent colours may fade as the surface dries, so for best results use gouache or coloured inks rather than transparent watercolours. Rub out or wet the paper, the Pastelmat keeps its original properties.
Pastelmat comes in a range of colours, all of which are acid-free and lightfast. Including warm, cool or achromatic colours there are fourteen different shades of 360gsm acid-free paper to choose from, all of which come in a pack of five sheets. In the pads, each sheet is protected by a crystal paper insert. Pastelmat may be slightly curved: this is normal and part of the manufacturing process.
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The production of paper is a long tradition for the valley of the Meurthe, since the creation of the first paper mills back in the XVI century. It is in this convenient environment that Papeteries de Clairefontaine started their production in 1858, in the town of Etival Clairefontaine, situated next to Meurthe river 90km from Strasbourg. Taking advantage of rags supplied by the local textile industry, Clairefontaine became one of the most important factories in the region. In 1880 the company started with the manufacturing of envelopes and notebooks were soon to follow.
Today the factory has two paper machines. The production speed of each of these 3.4m wide machines is 1000m per minute, which means 15 tons or 60km of paper is produced every hour.