Sunday, January 31, 2010
This semester I am taking papermaking. After only a few weeks, I am already officially hooked. Fun, deeply interesting and incredibly hands on, Papermaking totally changes the way you think about paper, the craft of hand made objects, and the time, effort, money and skill required to be a true artist. UA has made a reputation for itself for making Banana paper. Our professor and headmaster of our humble book arts program has been given the grand task of making samples of banana paper for Papermaking Magazine. So we intrepid few endeavored to make the 1700 samples.
First, the banana stalks were chopped and soaked overnight.
Then the stalks must be cooked for about 45 minutes with soda ash to begin to break down the banana.
Once the cook is done, the banana is rinsed and then placed into a Hollander beater to break down the banana into fibrous pulp.
All this prep can take anywhere from a couple hours to several, depending on the fibers you use. In the mean time, the moulds and deckles are soaking in water so they will be ready for the pulp.
Then with a little conviction, several tries and a well practiced wiggle...
After letting the water drain, remove the deckle and couch (sounds like cooch) your paper onto a felt.
After we had a large enough post of felts with our paper on it, we placed the post in a press to squeeze out all the excess water.
Then we took the sheets up to the library to dry.
The whole process was long and by the end of the day I was a little sore and ready for bed. But I am so excited for the rest of the semester. I'm sure I've caught the papermaking bug.