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M205a Finale - whole mould

M205a Finale - whole mould

These are a particularly historic pair of moulds as they were used to make the last full scale production batch of hand-made paper at Hayle Mill and hence in the United Kingdom.

In April 1987 we reluctantly decided that the Mill would have to close since financial viability had been so badly undermined by government policies over the previous eight years. To allow adequate time to help employees find new jobs, use up raw materials and provide good stock for the inevitable, but short term, sales boom, we decided to continue production for about three months.

Soon after making the decision I contacted Claire van Vliet of the Janus Press in Vermont and we conceived the idea of a book of histories of various papers which would be illustrated with samples of them. This needed a special paper for the text to be called Finale. Claire agreed to design a watermark and to buy paper for the project.

In those days, fax was the leading edge of communication (how the world has changed since) and I was thrilled when the calligraphic design arrived. I could also see various challenges from variable line width and thin, curving swash lines but decided to go ahead with it without alteration.

10,000 sheets of Finale were made in the last two weeks of production. As our lead vatman of the time and other crewmembers had got jobs very quickly, I invited Norman Peters to return for few weeks. Norman was 77 at the time and had retired a few years previously. Nevertheless on his first day back he made 1,000 sheets of Crisbrook and, as was his tradition, went home looking spotless with clean white shirt, shiny black shoes, no traces of pulp on him and looking as though ready to start another day's work. This was the same every day that I worked with Norman, a superlative craftsman. Alongside him was Andrew French who had joined the business from school about ten years before. All the remaining staff and I also made a few sheets of Finale.

If you examine the watermark closely you will see it is not as simple as Finale as Claire incorporated the letters JBG as well. The paper was in most respects a lighter weight version of our Chatham Vellum paper made from 100% flax fibre and Aquapel sized.

For various reasons the book project did not proceed but in 2008 Claire published "Papermaking at Hayle Mill 1808-1987" by my wife Maureen Green PhD - see which she printed on Finale.

This did not use up all the stock and I currently have 5,000 sheets of Finale for sale for a suitable large edition.

The moulds were made by E Amies in June 1946 and the watermarks were made and fitted by Ron MacDonald of Amies. Due to their intricate nature and the risk of damage, the watermarks were soldered to the moulds - a rare exception for our moulds which usually have the marks stitched on. Since 1987 this has led to some whitish discolouration in the surrounding wire.

Prior to 1987 the deckle had suffered major damage to one corner joint. As illustrated, a rather simple repair kept the deckle serviceable, which it still is.