Wednesday, March 7, 2012

2012 Papermaking Season Has Begun

It was a beautiful, sunny day today and I was off from work, so spent some time outside straightening up my papermaking studio and setting some fibers to ret.  Mulberry, willow, kozo and gampi bast fibers were each put in a five gallon bucket with approximately six ounces of wood ash and four gallons of water. I put tightly fitting lids on them and placed them in the sun. I plan to give them a stir or tumble once a week for a month. Hopefully April will be warm and sunny so that I can cook these fibers and then beat them. Then the real fun begins!

Mulberry bast with bark

willow bast with bark


The mulberry and willow basts were gathered here on our property.  I bought the beautifully clean gampi from Keith Gum of IFUGAO Papercraft. The kozo is from Magnolia Paper.

 I am also reading up on preparing fibers for natural dyeing.  My plan is to dye the cotton sheets first this year, then cut and beat them. This should be easier than trying to mordant, rinse, dye and rinse pulp like I did last summer. From what I read, I believe I need to treat the fabric with tannin (need to find a natural source of that), then mordant twice with alum. Fibers/fabrics can be premordanted and kept indefinitely, ready and available when the dye materials present themselves! I am also planning to use this dyed cotton fabric for weaving and small sewn projects.

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