There are two distinct sides to all papers, whether they are toilet tissue, cartridge paper or fine watercolour papers. Depending on their type of manufacture changes the names of how we refer to each side. On Fourdrinier papers they are called Top Side and Wire Side. On Mould Made and Handmade papers they are Felt Side (for the top), and Mould Side.
At St Cuthberts Mill, we endeavour to make all our paper so that both sides of the sheet can be used, so there’s no definite right and wrong side. However, most artists prefer the Felt Side. The Felt Side will have a more random texture to it’s surface, as it doesn’t have the regular pattern of the wire mesh of the cylinder mould it was made upon. The Felt Side is also more rigorously tested during manufacturer.
It is purely down to personal preference for which side to use.
There are a number of ways to tell the Felt Side. Firstly, all paper made at St Cuthberts Mill is packed with the Felt Side uppermost. With watermarked paper, if you can read it correctly you are looking at the Felt Side. Or look for the wire mesh of the cylinder mould from which it was made. This is quite difficult to see, and is nearly impossible on Bockingford, as the mill has taken great care to get both sides of the paper to be nearly indistinguishable.