You can see paper being made at East Quay through a large open viewing window or by entering the workshop’s sales area.
Every day, Jim Patterson and his small team of craftsmen and women make sheet after sheet of beautiful handmade rag watercolour paper. The operation is the only one of its type in the country and has established a world-wide reputation for quality.
Using an unusual mix of fibres and surface treatment, its receptivity to paint and resulting luminosity is reckoned to be unrivalled. A quarter of its output is sold overseas and paper made by them has even found its way onto the walls of Tate Modern.
- Handmade rag (cotton and linen) watercolour papers
- Tinted papers
- Sketch books
- Hand bound journals
- Grow papers (wildflower seed papers)
- Bespoke orders welcome (minimum quantity required)
Alongside their signature artists paper Two Rivers has begun regular makings of “grow papers”. The gentle pressing, low drying temperature and traditional fibres keep embedded wildflower seeds viable. They also take bespoke orders for lighter weight papers suitable for book printing from time to time.
Commercial hand-papermaking is listed as a critically endangered craft occupation. The importance of the operation at Pitt Mill, has been recognised by the Heritage Crafts Association and Jim was chosen as their Craftsperson of 2019 and Two Rivers was their “Made in Britain” business 2020. HCAs support has been invaluable in part funding a recognized papermaking apprenticeship. Zoe Collis, a young person, who started three years ago, is now formally qualified. Another trainee Kieren Berry has since joined the team.
Waterpower from the mill wheel is used to break down linen, now a rare ingredient in paper. Solar panels make a large contribution toward the electric bill, so Two Rivers must be one of the ‘greenest’ paper mills imaginable.
In the summer of 2021 Two Rivers will move part of its production into the new East Quay Development in Watchet.
Making Paper By Hand – BBC Somerset
Trade memberships / Awards / Qualifications
Members of the PAPER INDUSTRY TECHNICAL ASSOCIATION (PITA)
Winners of the 2020 ‘Made in Britain’ Heritage Craft Award
Winner of 2019 ‘Maker of the Year’ Heritage Craft Award
Supported By The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust
East Quay, Harbour Rd, Watchet, Somerset, TA23 0AQ
Telephone: 01984 641028