Archive for April, 2017

Make Calligraphy Pop with Jacquard’s Pearl Ex Pigments

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Calligraphy is arguably the most enduring ancient art form. Now, in the age of social media, it is experiencing a major renaissance. See this month’s trend report on Hand Lettering. That is exactly what Jacquard has seen with their Pearl Ex pigments (Jacquard’s line of over 30 metallic/pearlescent mica pigments), which in recent years experienced an incredible surge in popularity, particularly among calligraphers. Search #PearlEx hashtag on Instagram, and the majority of the thousands of images that you will see will be of beautifully penned words, sparkling and shiny in well-lit videos or stills.

jac0620Calligraphers are particularly fond of metallic colors. So much so that many of them banded together to ask Jacquard to produce a particularly hot color: Rose Gold. Jacquard worked with Joi Hunt, an acclaimed calligrapher from the greater Chicago area, to produce this beautiful new color. Rose Gold is included in Jacquard’s incredibly popular Metallic Calligraphy Set (JAC0620), Jacquard’s Lumiere acrylics line and is also available as an open stock Pearl Ex pigment.

Lyons wedding placecard bride

Joi says “A whole new generation of artists are bringing new ideas and a fresh take on historical scripts, making them current and relevant.  New mediums and inks are being used to the delight of calligraphers the world over.  Most importantly, the public, and potential clients, are appreciating calligraphy and are seeking out well skilled calligraphers.” The art form is flourishing in the forms of font design, invitations, hand lettered logo design, announcements, graphic design, maps and much more, and Pearl Ex is right in the middle of it all!

brodarick envelope

Indeed, Pearl Ex is Jacquard’s most versatile product line – it can be added to acrylics, oils, printing inks, encaustics, alcohol inks, epoxy, glues, casting resins, clay, varnish and much more. Pearl Ex is a safe, inert pigment that exhibits extreme colorfastness and stability. It is an essential material for any artist, whenever a metallic or pearlescent effect is desired.

Take a look inside Joi Hunt’s studio to see how she mixes Pearl Ex, Gum Arabic and water to create her calligraphy ink using the following link: 


Introducing NEW Strathmore VISION

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Vision - BeautyArtists are as unique as their vision. That’s why Strathmore has listened to their requests for a series of artists pads with covers that can be customized. For the first time ever, this new line of products features a tear away fly sheet that reveals a heavyweight, customizable, blank cover made from high quality, steel blue mixed media paper.

Vision - Customize bubbleAll products feature the new customizable cover, which is made from a specially created 184 lb / 300 gsm steel blue mixed media paper, and is suitable for use with wet and dry media. Artists can feel free to let the world see their vision using the materials of their choice, ultimately showcasing their work on the cover of their pad.

In addition to customizable covers, this new line of pads features extra high sheet counts and extremely durable construction. These affordable products deliver on key performance characteristics for sketching, drawing, mixed media, and watercolor art, while providing an outstanding value for artists.

Vision - Sarah B Art


Vision products offer key benefits and features including:

  • Grades offered are sketch, drawing, mixed media and watercolor.
  • Appropriate paper weights keep product affordable yet provide key working properties.
  • Acid free.
  • Removable fly sheet packaging reveals a customizable 184 lb / 300 gsm steel blue mixed media permanent cover.
  • High sheet counts per pad, very heavy chipboard, and large 7/8” wire.
  • Made in the U.S.A.

Pads are available in a variety of sizes:

  • Sketch: 5.5” x 8.5” (SM657-55) ▪ 9” x 12” (SM657-59) ▪ 11” x 14” (SM657-61) ▪ 18” x 24” (SM657-68)
  • Drawing: 9” x 12” (SM643-59) ▪ 11” x 14” (SM643-61) ▪ 18” x 24” (SM643-68)
  • Mixed Media: 5.5” x 8.5” (SM662-55) ▪ 7” x 10” (SM662-57) ▪ 9” x 12” (SM662-59) ▪ 11” x 14” (SM662-61)
  • Watercolor: 6” x 9” (SM640-56) ▪ 9” x 12” (SM640-59) ▪ 11” x 15” (SM640-61) ▪ 18” x 24” (SM640-68)



Strathmore vision pads are featured on an introductory BTS promotion which runs April 28, 2017 to September 4, 2017. Learn how this new program can increase the productivity of your retail space by contacting your MacPherson’s Account Manager today!

Vision - Sara Art

Vision support materials for retailers including headers for end-caps, display signage, shelf labels, shelf talkers, samplers, and sell sheets are all available on the Retailer and Distributor Tools section of

Industry News

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Nico (1)On April 6th MacPherson’s welcomes its newest member. Our category manager Lacey Elia gave birth to a boy, Nico. He is a very healthy (9lb. – 11oz.) and happy baby. Congratulations to the entire family!

In an effort to create focus within its brands and market channels, Sharpie & Prismacolor maker Newell Brands Inc. announced that it will sell its Pine Mountain® fire starters and fire logs business as well as its Diamond® matches to Royal Oak Enterprises LLC, a leading manufacturer of charcoal and grilling products.

Jo-Ann Stores announces acquisition of Creativebug, which is based in San Francisco. The digital company was founded in 2012 and offers an extensive array of online video arts and crafts workshops and techniques.


AAEAAQAAAAAAAAS5AAAAJGFmYTk2ODBkLTc4NzQtNGQwOS05MGMxLTExOTkzMjRjYzQwOAF.I.L.A. has announced that Chris Crangle has been appointed General Manager of their Digital Fine Art & Printmaking Business Unit Worldwide within the F.I.L.A. Group. Before joining, Chris held similar positions at Innova Fine Art and Canson.

Namta released a photo montage video of this year’s convention in Salt Lake City. Check it out

Trends Worth Watching

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

In recent tracking of Art & Craft retailers email campaigns, some notable trends are emerging. We’re following these developments closely and we think it’s so important to note that we’ve included a new section in the MacPherson’s Back-to-School Buyers Guide. It’s chock full of Trend opportunities to inspire and activate consumer engagement in your store. Look for it in your mailbox soon!


Retailer Marketing Trends

Print advertising, in store flyers & newspaper ads, continue to be a challenge as costs rise and circulations fall. The trend seems to be moving in the direction of retailers actively building their email mailing list and mailings going out more frequently (at least 3 days per week). A superficial look at recent retailer activity shows that some of the best practices currently employed are uncluttered and simple visual presentations with many product offers or in-store events that can be scrolled through. Product drivers such as stretched canvas, Buy one, Get one (BOGO), Pencil Sets, Drawing media at the top of the list and repeated often. Here’s an example of an impactful and uncluttered email campaign from a DIY retailer serving another channel.eBlast Example

Impactful Store Windows

Notable quote found in ColArt’s booth at this year’s Paperworld show in Frankfurt; “… 52% of consumers are more likely to enter a store if there is an impactful window display” and “… 75% of consumers informed their friends about a specific store because they were impressed by the signage” – Kissmetrics

ColArt Window design

These colorful and impactful gift sets and window pedestals will be available in time for this holiday gift giving season.

Protests & Political Activism

For many citizens recent national events have sparked a desire to publicly state opinions and get involved in the national debate.  Marches, rallies  and meetings are peppered with DIY signs expressing all sorts of points of view. The common connection for retailers who sell art supplies is the need of the sign makers to have the brightest, most sparkly sign materials from the simple Sharpie to paints brushes, poster & foam board, stencils, glitter glue and anything you can think of to make a distinctive graphic impact.


Short Term Trends

DIY Slime Making

Tons of videos showcase simple and safe recipes for making your own highly personalized and creative slime. Be aware that there is some controversy about the use of Borax in slime recipes. Erroneously it has been reported that Borax contains Boric acid. According to scientists from the University of Kansas this is not the case and most slime recipes are safe.

Bob Ross

Bob Ross complete with his “fro” and mellow style is back with the announcement of his full video lesson catalog available on Netflix Streaming. We are seeing classes and demonstrations popping up in the most trending and urban areas.

Hand Painted Rocks

In an era of high profile incivility and public unkindness a kind of “flash trend” has emerged.  As far as we can tell it began in Washington State and it’s simple; find a rock, paint a rock creatively, and then hide it so it can be discovered to bring a smile to others.

Longer Lasting Trends

Personalization and Making

Young professionals are voluntarily choosing to live in trendy urban areas across the country. They like the cultural benefits that cities bring, but they are also keen on things they make to improve and enrich their personal spaces.

Personalization and Making Part 2

Tools that make bringing creativity to life easy and fun are a hot trend in and of themselves. At the top of this list are paint markers. There are paint markers and then again there are paint markers that people love. Posca seems right at the top of that list. Watch this video and see if you don’t fall in love!

DIY Planning & Journaling

The most widely known in this category is called Bullet Journaling®, a popular form of list-keeping, especially among the online community.

Sketching & Drawing

The easiest way back into creativity for young, busy and successful millennials is most often what they loved doing during their school years; coloring, doodling, sketching and drawing. For this crowd it helps if in-store Sketching and Drawing departments are simple to navigate, break down intimidation and feature specific areas for getting started.

Derwent Sketching & Drawing Center guides and inspires using organization, lighting & color

Derwent Sketching & Drawing Center guides, inspires and activates new store visitors by using organization, lighting & color

Hand Lettering

Another Sketching & Drawing rooted trend that’s on fire is Hand Lettering which may be a rebellion against the cold, sleek, digital environments we find ourselves in. It’s appearing everywhere, giving rise to tons of videos, store demos and classes. The beauty of Hand Lettering is its flexibility and accessibility. Almost anyone can do it!

Shibori Tie Dyeing

Shibori is an ancient, easy and distinctive cloth dyeing technique from Japan dating back to the 8th century. Most commonly done with indigo dyes, naturally vibrant and rich. Here is a simple and captivating demo.

Liquitex Cadmium-Free Colors Are Coming!

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

LIQ HB 59ml Cad-Free Line up

Liquitex will launch a new range of Cadmium-Free colors in 2017, giving artists a wider range of choice when selecting safe art materials. Since their foundation in 1955 Liquitex have partnered with artists to ensure that they continually evolve and innovate. As there is no universal view on the potential harm of cadmium pigments, Liquitex has chosen to acknowledge this and offer both alternatives side by side so that artists can make a choice based on their personal preference. ColArt is proud to be the first in the market to introduce a parity performance Cadmium-Free alternative for health and safety conscious artists. As a company they are committed to developing safe and sustainable alternatives without compromising on the performance of the paint.

The new Cadmium-Free range carries an AP (Approved Product) Seal from the The Art and Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI). The ACMI is an international association of about 200 art, craft, and creative material manufacturers which seeks to promote safety in art and creative products through its certification program. ColArt is a member of ACMI. ACMI-certified product seals (AP Approved Product and CL Cautionary Labeling) indicate that these products have been evaluated by a qualified toxicologist and are labeled in accordance with federal and state laws. The AP Seal identifies art materials that are safe and that are certified in a toxicological evaluation by a medical expert to contain no materials in sufficient quantities to be toxic or injurious to humans, including children, or to cause acute or chronic health problems.

The development of the new Cadmium-Free colors was the work of several ColArt chemists over a three year period, evaluating a huge range of pigments available internationally to discover the very best in terms of performance and match to existing Liquitex cadmium colors. The ColArt Innovation & Development laboratory applied several tests to demonstrate that the Cadmium-Free range is technically on par with the equivalent cadmium colors, for example:

  • Lightfastness to assess longevity
  • Color mass tone for brightness and overall match
  • Color reduction 10:1 with Titanium White to compare color strength and shade when mixed
  • Viscosity and rheology for handling properties
  • Specific gravity to test weight
  • Opacity check over black and white test card to assess coverage

Prior to the launch the range was rigorously tested not just in the ColArt Innovation & Development laboratory but also with the end user: artists. Liquitex identified regular users of acrylic paint and in particular cadmium colors for a series of tests. Each artist was given two identical sets of color, one set containing genuine cadmium paint and the other containing Cadmium-Free. The testing was conducted blind, without the artists’ knowledge of the difference between each set. They were allowed one month to work with and compare both sets. They were given a journal to keep during the assessment plus too a thorough a questionnaire at the end. None identified the fact that one set was Cadmium-Free.

Liquitex wants artists to experience first-hand that this is a true parity performance replacement for cadmium colors. Therefore the brand plans to invest in a robust communications campaign which will include digital advertising and a global social media campaign. The brand will also organize a number of demonstrations in-store as well as in the educational sector to make sure as many artists as possible get the opportunity to see the new range first-hand. Alongside this, Liquitex will provide informative point of sale materials for stores.

The 59ml range consists of 7 colors: Cadmium-Free Red Light, Red Medium, Red Deep, Orange, Yellow Light, Yellow Medium, Yellow Deep and will be available in stores July 2017. The 138ml range consists of 4 colors: Cadmium-Free Red Medium, Orange, Yellow Light, Yellow Medium and will be available in stores August 2017. The range of Hues will be discontinued and the Cadmium-Free SKUs will take the place of the Hues in the Heavy Body color range.

LQ artist comment

Strathmore Proudly Celebrates 125 year Anniversary in 2017

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

This year at the NAMTA show, Strathmore incorporated a birthday theme into the booth which included a birthday cake and balloons to celebrate their 125th anniversary. The celebration will continue throughout the year with special themed activities and events for consumers and retailers, so watch for special activities on social media platforms to share with your customers.

125 Cake

125 HoraceAs part of the anniversary celebration, Strathmore created a unique cover for the standard 400-8 400 Series Drawing pad. The composition and construction of the pad is identical to the standard product, with the exception that the pad artwork has been revised to include an image of founder Horace Moses, done in graphite by artist Heather Rooney. The cover also includes the Strathmore 125 year anniversary logo. The product with the commemorative cover will ship automatically on orders throughout 2017.

125 Pad

The history of the Strathmore Paper Company began on St. Patrick’s Day in 1892 when its founder, Horace Moses, opened the Mittineague paper mill in West Springfield, MA.

125 Mill

Mittineague Paper Mill

125 LogoSoon after opening the first mill, Horace visited the Valley of Strathmore in Scotland. The thistle was in full bloom and the beauty of the site impress him so much that he started using the name Strathmore and the thistle as a symbol of high quality art and printing papers. The Strathmore brand name began to appear on fine art papers in 1899 and quickly became known as one of the highest quality art papers used by many leading artists around the world.

Strathmore’s long history includes a commitment to innovation, listening to artists and continuing to introduce new products that enhance artistic ideas and aspirations, like producing the first recycled sketch papers in 1972 called Shelburne Phase II Sketch. Strathmore strives to manufacture their products in the USA, which allows them to control the quality and consistency artists have come to expect from the brand.

Beyond founding Strathmore, Horace Moses was known not only as an industrialist, but also as philanthropist who made many generous contributions of his time and finances towards the betterment of youth, the furthering of the arts, and the study of agricultural science. His gifts continue to enrich the lives of people all over the world to this day.

In 1919, Horace Moses founded Jr. Achievement, with the mission to provide boys with practical training in running small businesses of their own. The United States Postal Service honored Mr. Moses in 1984 with a commemorative 20¢ stamp.

In addition to Jr. Achievement, Horace Moses made many significant contributions financially and through the gift of land for other organizations including Boy Scouts of America, 4-H, Green Mountain Junior College, Eastern States Farmer’s Exchange, Valley View Cemetery Chapel, Moses-Ludington Hospital, Ticonderoga Community Building, Liberty Monument, Hancock House, and the New England’s state fair.

Reminisce with these historical photos from Strathmore’s past:

Strathmore employees in 1900:

125 Employees


The Strathmore Paper Company – 1916

125 SAP

Sorting cotton rags to be used for cotton paper:

125 Cotton


The pulper:

125 Pulper