Coating with Fabriano Artistico Hot Press

Concerns with using Fabriano Artistico with the Mike Ware process as well as the traditional process:

Interestingly I have verified the concerns of a fellow platinum printer, Martin Anthony Battilana, with the traditional and the Mike Ware process. Simply stated, the Fabriano Artistico paper needs to be treated. In his own words he wrote:

“As far as my experience with Frabriano Artistico, I think the paper is beautiful for some uses, but when used with the pt/pd process it isn’t out-of-the-box usable. The paper is well sized and the sizing may contain buffers. This I believe causes some of the pt/pd metals to shed off in developing resulting in a loss of d-max. The obvious way to remedy this is to pre-soak the paper in citric or oxalic acid and dry it. After this treatment the paper now retains all the metals, however the paper becomes much too absorbent during the coating process. So now it becomes necessary to re-size the paper or add pva to the sensitizer.”

Ironically I learned of Fabriano Artistico from another fellow platinum printer who only treats the paper with Oxalic Acid. He doesn’t have any problems with the paper, and I expect that it is not what he KNOWS that we don’t, rather, a technique he uses that we don’t.

On an aside in an earlier post, Martin Anthony Battilana had stated that out-of-the-box Fabriano Artistico 300 “is my favorite paper for cyanotypes and gum“.


  • The paper is very absorbent after the oxalic acid treatment.
  • The DMax is much lighter than Cranes Crest Natural White when using the traditional process with palladium only.
  • There are patching problems (large areas that are lighter than others) which are probably caused by uneven absorption or possibly a chemical reaction.
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2 Responses to Coating with Fabriano Artistico Hot Press

  1. Norman Christie says:

    I too have had problems. Last year I was at a workshop and decided to do cyanotypes some of which were then double gummed. I decided to use Fabriano Cot 50 as others had recommended. What a nightmare. I used Mike Ware’s Cyanotype II as I like the colour. The prints, perfect when washed, faded some even became invisible! Out of 60+ 8×10 prints I managed to get 7 keepers and 6 which I successfully double gummed.
    I found your site whilst investigating for the process of pre-soaking in either a citric or oxalic acid bath.
    I have another workshop in two weeks time where I am going to repeat the processes this time I will be using standard cyanotype solution with Arches Aquarelle. I hope that I will be more successful!

  2. dana says:

    This paper came in two types natural and white. The person who suggested both came to the conclusion that the white that I bought and all subsequent white’s couldn’t work–they had changed the formula. Alas, that is the state of the paper industry.

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