Craftsman's breakthrough paints bright picture

By ZHANG YU in Shijiazhuang | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-23 10:01
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A visitor checks out Baohong Watercolor Paper at an art museum in Baoding, Hebei province, in October. CHINA DAILY

Perfectionist makes great efforts to develop nation's first high-quality watercolor paper

A paper-making company in North China is receiving an increasing number of orders for watercolor paper from overseas customers who are attracted by the product's high quality.

"This is a miracle achievement given that even the domestic market for high-end watercolor paper has been dominated by overseas products since the beginning of the century," said Shi Liming, a paper-making craftsman who has been working on watercolor paper research and production for over three decades.

Based in Baoding, Hebei province, Shi's Baoding Huarong Paper Factory was established in 1992 in the city's Jingxiu district.

The factory mainly produces paper for watercolor painting, sketching, oil painting and industrial use, with great efforts aimed at producing high-quality watercolor paper.

"Paper is one of the four great inventions of our country, but the development of high-end watercolor paper started relatively late," said 53-year-old Shi, adding that he wanted to do something to fill the domestic blank in making high-grade watercolor paper.

After 31 years, his product has grabbed more than half of the imported watercolor paper market share, and its domestic market share has exceeded 60 percent.

Additionally, overseas customers in more than 40 countries and regions have placed a number of orders in recent years.

Born in a small village in Lianchi district, Baoding, Shi's childhood revolved around his father's work at a nearby paper mill.

It was during these times that he developed a keen interest in the process of making paper.

Back in 1980, when he was 10 years old, he watched his father and colleagues work and became particularly interested in the paper-making process.

"My father often told me about the process and even let me try making it," Shi said. When he turned 19, he also found a job at a local paper mill.

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