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Ampersand

Ampersand

Wet Paint's Beth Bergman was one of the very first retailers in the country to bring Ampersand's Claybord into her store nearly 15 years ago. This trend setting store took a chance and introduced artists to what would become one of many popular surfaces offered by Ampersand Art. Elaine Salazar, president of Ampersand, fondly recalls trying to pitch this 'unique' surface to Beth only to find that she had already discovered it! Beth said to her, 'Do you mean Claybord- Really Neat Stuff?' That was the name and catch phrase on the first package that artist Charles Ewing had created when he and his wife Barbara started to market the surface that he had created for his own use.

After producing a few batches of Claybord in his shed, in 1993,Charles Ewing and Elaine Salazar founded Ampersand Art Supply to manufacture and market not only Claybord, but to create a movement to revive the time-honored tradition of panel painting. Up to this point, no one had ventured into this area to research wood substrates and figure out how to seal and coat them with grounds that artists would love. With a steadfast commitment to archival principles, Elaine and Charles tested countless wood surfaces to find the most dimensionally stable base for their grounds and developed a unique method for sealing their premium hardboard.

Then came the fun part: creating wonderful grounds such as Gessobord, Aquabord, Pastelbord that are the hallmark of their panels. All of Ampersand's Museum panels are hand made in their small factory in Austin, Texas where an employee (not a machine) has created and touched each panel with the same tender loving care that Elaine and Charles used to create the first Claybord.

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