A Paper Rose by Any Other Weight...

We’re so excited to welcome Mike Benson as a guest contributor to The Posey Box blog! He is the founder of Carte Fini, my absolute favorite place to buy Italian crepe paper. Without further ado, Mike Benson: 

So what do you do?".... if you’re like me, and you live in America (fun fact; citizens of other countries seem confounded by this obligatory party-query. LOL), the people we meet for the first time invariably ask you this question. For me, I answer with a certain pride while I steady myself for their all-too common “huh?”...“I import crepe paper from Italy and sell through my online store, Carte Fini” ... “ohh-kayyy???

And so it goes, but I understand. For the uninitiated, the term “crepe paper” is not in their vernacular. My explanation for them begins with attempting to describe the basic product as they may have encountered it as a child in school. “That stretchy paper used for crafts”, I say. Maybe they get it, maybe they don’t. No matter, at this point they are either enthralled or disinterested. I am writing today for those that are, hopefully, enthralled and hopelessly hooked on this wonderful and versatile medium!

Now that we know who’s who, I’d like to spend some time discussing the products that we carry and what makes each one different and special. 

Our emphasis here will be on the 180 gram weight crepe paper produced by the Italian company, Cartotecnica Rossi (CR). Remarkably, CR has been manufacturing this exceptional product since 1878! Carte Fini has been honored to be the primary supplier and distributor for CR products in the United States for over a decade. The 180 gram weight crepe paper has been and continues to be, the most popular product line that we carry. 

As a sort of primer, understand that crepe paper “weight” is used as a gauge and index for describing a certain product’s characteristics as they primarily relate to thickness and stretch. The higher the weight, the thicker and sturdier the paper tends to be. CR’s 180 gram crepe paper is the “heaviest” paper they produce. Why is this important?...well, as we soon discovered through artists and crafters over the years, Cartotecnica’s ultra-high quality product lends itself particularly well to the type of manipulation that is required for creating paper flowers and other similar projects. That is to say, the process of stretching, cupping, and otherwise forming this sturdy paper into petals, leaves, and the like. Keep in mind that the “quality” described here is in stark contrast to crepe paper products produced in some other countries that exhibit undesirable characteristics such as “easily tearing” and “crackly texture”. 

As a matter of comparison, realize that Carte Fini also offers other crepe paper weights that are popular as well and offer their own unique virtues. Product lines here include 140 gram water-resistant (WR), 90 grams, and lightweight 60 grams. The limited color range (10 colors) of the 140 gram water-resistant crepe has its place for obvious reasons. Our newest offering is the amazingly well received 90 gram crepe paper that was just recently produced and released by Cartotecnica Rossi. The 90 gram is a unique crepe paper with its mid-weight feel and extreme stretch features (18 colors). Finally, the 60 gram is our lightest weight crepe paper that lends itself well to the most delicate applications (38 colors). 

A discussion with crafters and artists would not be complete without addressing colors! Crepe paper color options are, and will always be, one of the most important considerations. Carte Fini consistently offers the complete palette that is produced by Cartotecnica Rossi (currently over 200 colors!) This includes baseline colors that have been carried from day one as well as new colors that are released yearly. CR is proactive in researching and creating new and desirable color additions. To be sure, Cartotecnica Rossi has elicited the help of well-known paper artist Tiffanie Turner in recent years to consult and curate two collections of specific colors that feature her name. As you would expect, they are some of the most popular colors that we offer! Additional choices are rounded out with metallics, ombré, and prints. 

Over the last decade, we have seen the crepe paper crafting trend evolve and grow year over year. Artists have taken this modest yet remarkable material and transformed it into stunning works of art. Furthermore, with the help of social media, we have been able to share and become inspired by creations from artists all over the world. Carte Fini is proud to be part of this talented, supportive, and creative community. So I say, go forth, stretch out (pun intended), create, and share.

See you on Insta...Ciao!

If you would like to hear more about Mike and his shop, Carte Fini, check out Paper Talk Episode 2


and if you haven't tried the Italian 90gsm yet, listen to Paper Talk episode 42



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