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Paper Characteristics

Paper Characteristics

Camberwell College of Arts
Taught by
Elaine Cooper, Craig Horsfall


Join Paper Characteristics and be introduced to the key characteristics of different types of paper on this 2 day course. You will understand the properties of paper, how to create, select and customise papers for specific tasks.

Working alongside a world expert in hand-made paper techniques, you will create your own paper to gain a deep insight into the construction and properties of paper.

Through a series of practical workshops, you will gain an understanding of the various attributes of washi, Japanese paper and other types of paper. You will be introduced to examination techniques in relation to paper and learn about techniques such as sizing and flattening.

The course will combine lectures, discussions and practical exercises.

Topics Covered

  • Paper-making: the difference between Japanese and western paper
  • Paper fibre types, properties of fibre length 
  • What makes ‘washi’ special
  • Paper additives, including sizing and optical brightening agents
  • Paper properties
Course Outcomes
You will have gained an insight into paper-making both East and Western manufacture. You will understand the properties of paper, how to select and customise papers for specific tasks.

Who Should Attend
Anyone interested in using paper across a wide range of art or craft disciplines.


Tutor Description

Elaine Cooper is recognised as a world expert on handmade paper and a leading exponent in the use of Washi in art and design. Soon after graduating from Maidstone College in 1984, Elaine was invited to Japan where she spent a year working with Master Papermaker Akiro Goto.
Since then Elaine has exhibited internationally and regularly been featured on television and in the press. She works as a business advisor and consultant to the Japanese Government, as well as acting as a ‘cultural ambassador’ for the City of Mino. Elaine also works regularly with schools, colleges and universities hosting workshops and seminars.

Craig Horsfall currently works with the MA Conservation course at Camberwell School of Art. He has several years’ experience as a paper conservator, and holds accredited status with the Institute of Conservation (ICON). While working with the framing company John Jones he regularly worked with artists and galleries to retouch printing flaws on new works going to collectors or exhibition.


Please Bring the following items with you on the first day:

  • A note pad and pen

  • A pack of 20 j cloths

  • Any off cuts of paper you wish to recycle or test

  • A folder to take your work home

  • Flat objects like text, prints or objects for creative techniques (think about scale as we will be working with A4 frames)

  • Overalls as you will be using water

  • Comfortable shoes and clothing

  • Some old newspapers

Please note that most materials needed for the short courses are available at the Camberwell College of Arts' Art Shop. Please contact the Art Shop directly for opening hours and availability.

Available dates