GreatArt UK

A combination of durability and beauty…

The art of papermaking was perfected for centuries by the inhabitants of Nepal and Bhutan. Bark was removed from the shrubs – the lokta or Daphnea Papyracea – which grew between 2500 and 4500 meters tall in the high hills regions of the Himalayas.

Their long fibres, their texture and their resistance gave durability and splendour to this remarkable support.
When making the Himalayan paper they first needed to separate the raffia (raw fibres) and then cook the dry bark in a solution of ashes or caustic soda in order to soften it. The lokta bark is then cleaned with clear water, finely chopped, and plunged into the water again. The material that is left is then brought to the boil, rinsed once again and ground on a flat stone in order to produce a fine white pulp. This pulp is poured onto a wooden sieve on the surface of a water pond and gently shaken to create a uniform layer and thus shape the sheet before exposing it to the sun to dry it. Once the water is completely evaporated, the paper sheet is ready.
You will be delighted by the touch of Himalayan paper, because the surface has an incredible softness. This Himalaya paper also has a particular smell and charm that helps you to imagine its original environment. The softest, lightest, most feminine papers (longest exposure of the bushes to sunlight) offer an interesting contrast with papers composed of Daphne bush (growing at 3500-5000 metres high) which are darker, larger and more rigid. Usually, when the two types of fibres are mixed, they form a very resistant paper that is pleasant to use and its particular fabrication protects it from mould and insects.
To get variations in the papers, they mix various materials, such as Tashingang, Shangang (bits of bark) or Bhumtang Phunakha (vegetal fibre based on bark). It is also possible to mix different whitening substance such as potassium carbonate or soda. Doing this varies the weight and the shades with are all the result of the raw materials’ colours. All of the Himalaya papers are handcrafted so will normally have a deckle edge, and then dried either outdoor or steamed and smoothed in some places.

Louise from GreatArt

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