Adventures in paper stretching III.

February 7, 2013 § 9 Comments

As mentioned in my previous “Do Shit Right” post, I tried a third and final method in my quest to keep watercolour paper flat. I wanted to write about it because I think it’s the one I like the best, especially as my most recent attempt at stretching sheets the old fashioned way caused me to almost ruin a piece when I accidentally glued it to the table…

I wouldn’t have bought myself a watercolour paper stretcher because they look complicated, and I’m cheap. But it just so happens that my lovely aunt had one she wasn’t using. And this particular stretcher is pretty cool. The guy who makes them (yes, it’s a guy, not Walmart) is an artist named John Weins. He used to live in Victoria and is now based in Portland.


They come in several sizes. This one fits a half sheet of watercolour paper (15″ x 22″). I ripped one of my sheets in half and gave it a soak. You remove the aluminum rims that run along the edges, slap the paper on there, and secure the rims back in place. This pushes the paper tight against the wooden base to dry. The coolest part is that these rims actually press the edges of the paper lower than in the inner  platform, which creates this awesome relief. While the instructions on John’s website suggest to cut the edges off, I think they actually add a lot of value to the final piece.


When I framed this piece I sized the matte (a nice thick one, maybe I’m not that cheap) so that the raised part of the paper fits inside. The frame is 18″ x 24″, a standard size that should be easy to find pre-made at good art supply shops. I love the results and I’m now considering getting two more sizes of stretchers so that all of my works on paper can have this same relief. They don’t cost too much either. Read all about it on John’s website

[*Update: March 22 2013 – John was nice enough to let me know that although similar, this stretcher was made by someone else. Please see his note in the comments section. If you happen to know who manufactured this stretcher let me know 🙂]


This piece, called Broken Feather, and three other pieces of mine are in an ink & watercolour exhibition that opens at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s Massey Gallery this Saturday (2pm).


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