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All Things Ampersand

Hand-made Craftsmanship – Because Your Art Matters!

There’s something going down in the little town south of Austin, Texas… Buda to be exact (pronounced “bee-yoo-da”). The home base of Ampersand Art Supply.

When artists come to visit our manufacturing facility they are quite surprised to learn that we aren’t a huge company with hundreds of people.  We are just a small, home-grown company started by an artist with a passion for panel painting – Charles Ewing.  Each panel that you paint on is hand-crafted by one of our 35 artisans.

Hand-crafted Goodness from Caring Individuals

We take great pride in knowing that our panels will be a part of your creativity and inspiration.

Here are a few pictures from our factory floor.  They show our employees busy at work creating the panels that you see featured at your favorite art supply dealers. We thought you might enjoy taking a peek!

Rebecca checks each panel before moving them into the cutting line. From the moment the raw materials arrive on the dock, they are inspected and re-inspected to ensure that the quality is at the highest level. This inspection is continuous throughout the process.

Veronica is our quality control expert in our “cradle making” area. Before gluing the panels to the cradle frames she inspects EVERY panel for any debris or flaw that might affect your artwork.

Ampersand Production Manager Gerald inspects the gesso coating that’s been mixing for a few days, making sure it is the perfect consistency before it gets applied to the archivally sealed hardboard. Every ground is thoroughly tested and uniquely designed to work with different paints, from oil to watercolor.

Did you know that every cradled panel is checked for squaring at Ampersand? Alma, one of our expert cradle panel makers, checks EACH AND EVERY FRAME before assembly!

Three Simple Words

Passion. Dedication. Love. That’s what goes into each and every Ampersand panel. We craft each panel by hand, meticulously caring for every detail – because your art matters and deserves the best support.

We care about the environment too!

Here’s another noteworthy fact: all Ampersand’s panels are made from FSC certified materials! We want to make sure that our manufacturing practices promote sustainable forests and protect our wildlife, plants, soil and water. We also routinely test our raw materials to ensure artists’ safety and consistency in quality.

No other panel on the market protects your work like an Ampersand panel. Every coated Museum Series panel is protected by our proprietary Archival-Seal™ barrier technology, making them the most archival panels available on the market. We want your work to last. Look for the Archiva-Seal certification label on your panels!

Have any stories of your own that illustrate Ampersand’s commitment to quality? Please let us know in the comments section below!

21 comments on “Hand-made Craftsmanship – Because Your Art Matters!”

  1. Avatar Jeanne Rhea says:

    Your panels are the best! The quality of the materials, attention to detail, and the consistency are unrivaled. Thank you for a peek into your process.

    1. Avatar Ampersand says:

      Thanks Jeanne! We appreciate the kind words. And its artist like you that make what we do worthwhile.

  2. I love your Pastelbords for all of my pastel mediums! Although my talent isn’t at the same skill level as your panels’ craftsmanship, at least I know what I do will be there for the generations to come. Thank you!

    Oh – and I would be happy to take those “seconds” that don’t pass inspection! **giggle**

    1. Avatar Ampersand says:

      Thanks Yvonne!

  3. Avatar Brenda says:

    There is no other vendor that produces a consistent high quality product. I have enjoyed the following products Encausticbord, gesso, pastel, birch and each time the quality is consistent. I have not ventured into scratch boards but I will someday.

    Thank you for establishing the foundation for my work.

    1. Avatar Ampersand says:

      Thank you so much Brenda! It makes us very happy to be able to create a product that artists feel so strongly about and positively affects their work!

  4. I started with Claybord years ago and now love your Encausticbord for my own paintings. I use your products in all of my classes so my students can start with the best and see how much time they can save by starting with a quality product. Thank you!

  5. Avatar Jane says:

    Thank you for your excellent products! So pumped to read about what happens on “the other end”.

  6. Your panels have transformed and elevated my graphite work.

    Having had the privilege to tour your factory a couple years ago, it amazed me how much non-automated, hands-on work it takes to produce each piece.

    Thanks for an amazing product!

  7. Avatar Debra-Ann Pine says:

    I love your panels!!
    I didn’t really enjoy painting until I tried your panels.
    I’m surprised to learn they are made here in America and by hand!!! So grateful and I will continue to support you by purchasing your excellent product!!!!
    Debra-Ann Pine
    1988 Institute of American Indian Arts graduate.

  8. Avatar Louise Marks says:

    Really enjoyed reading the process behind the panels. Thank you to everyone involved in making them. The panels are perfect to use and I’m chuffed to paint on them. The quality checking shows. I’ve never been disappointed with one.

  9. Avatar John Danks says:

    I switched from Coquille, which I have used for 30 YEARS to ampersand encaustic prepared board. I love how it “grabs” the color pencil and the way I can layer !!..also using powdered pastel and Gamsol to achieve different effects !!

  10. Avatar Nick Patten says:

    I’ve been using Ampersand panels for 20 years now. They are simply the best panels on the market, at an unbelievable price, considering the quality. I have enjoyed my working relationship with Ampersand, they have always treated me like I was family. I owe a lot of the progress I’ve made as a painter to this company and this product!

  11. I’m a long time loyal and happy Ampersand panel customer. I just placed ANOTHER order for (10) 36×44 encaustic board cradled panels.

  12. Avatar OscarChavez says:

    This is really great to see, I build cradled panels myself, and I’m an artist too. How can I be employed to build cradled panels? Who can I get in contact with?

  13. Avatar Liz Miller says:

    You create my favorite painting surfaces. Love the panels. Thanks for all the attention to detail.

  14. Avatar Dona A Schaeffer says:

    Do you have any cradled panels for watercolor that can be painted on all sides? I would like them 1 1/2″ or 2″ deep.

    1. Avatar Dana Brown says:

      Hi Dona! Dana from Ampersand here.
      Aquabord is designed for use with watercolor and is available, cradled, in 1.5″ and 2″ depths. In order to wrap your painting around the sides, you will need to seal the wooden cradle, and then prepare the sides with an absorbent ground, such as Daniel Smith’s Watercolor Ground or Golden Artist Color’s Absorbent Ground. If you have other questions, feel free to contact me directly at dana@ampersandart.com Thanks! Dana

  15. To all the great craftspeople at Ampersand, THANK YOU! I work in my studio 30-40 hours/week, always on Ampersand Claybord panels. Perhaps it’s the highest compliment that your panels are so flawless that I rarely have to think about them at all. Your work leaves me free to concentrate on my painting. That said, my heart leapt when I saw this article. I’m so delighted to see photos of the good people who make the panels I depend on as an artist.

    Thank you so much Rebecca, Veronica, Gerald and Alma!

    With great appreciation,
    Louise LeBourgeois

  16. Avatar Kate ODell says:

    When I first discovered Ampersand Aquabord I knew it was exactly what I needed/wanted. It’s an amazing product and my paintings using watercolor on aquabord intrigues everyone who sees them. Thank you! to all the people who create it. Your hard work, dedication and skill are greatly appreciated!

    (and am eagerly awaiting the new floaterframes.)

  17. Being from Scotland you are somewhat limited to what is available out there in the art world. I tried lots of different substrates, art board, various papers and even gessoed wood. Then one day I was given a 5″x5″ ‘srampbord’ cradled panel to try, it was a eureka moment. I only wish I’d kept it, but that little paining of our cat Whisper set me on a road of amazing creation. I am celebrating 10 years of using Ampersand panels this year and would certainly not have achieved the modest success I have done without these wonderful panels. For that I thank you.

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