Handmade Paper with Plant Fibers

I have been busy this week making paper for the 2007 Swatch Swap on the yahoo papermaking group. This will be the third swap that I have taken part in. If your a paper maker or are interested in learning to make your own handmade paper please check out the group. There are alot of very experienced people just waiting to help you learn.

All of my handmade paper is made from cotton linters and plant fibers that I have harvested either on our property or near where I live. I live out in the country in Florida and have a vast amount of plant fibers to choose from.
Each year I like to try a new plant fiber for my swatches. This year I picked a vine that grows just down the road from my house. The vine is the bright yellow carpet draping down over the ground. I had to contact my local extension service to ID this plant. I was told it is Dodder Vine. It is an invasive plant that after I researched I was skeptical about bringing any of it near our five acres. I was very careful while harvesting and preparing it for the cooking. So hopefully it will not sprout up any where in my yard. It is not far down the road and it may make it's way down here all by itself any way.

I thought this plant fiber might yield a nice yellow fiber. What I have learned in my papermaking experiments is that you never know what you are going to get with any plant. Most plant fibers once cooked turn various shades of brown, tan or green. I did not get the color I was hoping for but the plant fibers look wonderful in my paper so I am happy.
BUT this plant fiber was a big pain. It took forever to cook using washing soda. For those reading this and are confused please check out this site for an explanation on how to process plant fibers.
I am not connected to this site in any way. I just did a search and found it to have alot of info on papermaking.
If you become interested in making paper from plant fibers one of my favorite books with clear directions and wonderful pictures is " Papermaking with Garden Plants and Common Weeds " by Helen Hiebert. Do a search on the author and you will find her other books.

The picture above showing three different types and colors of papers are what I have been working on. For each batch of paper I make I like to make one or two sheets of pure plant fibers, no cotton linter added. This time I only made a fiber only sheet out of the fibers of dried banana leaves that I cooked and beat in the blender. I ran out of the Dodder Vine and at this moments I am not sure if I will process anymore of it to make a pure sheet.

The darkest sheet in the middle is the banana leaf fiber. It is a lovely shade of dark brown with speckles through out.

The sheet in the far background is the Dodder Vine fibers and cotton linter.

The third sheet is made of cotton linter, small lemon grass fibers, large lemon grass fiber pieces and banana stalk fibers.

Each different piece of a plant can yield a very different look in a sheet of paper.

Thanks for stopping by I hope you enjoyed another one of my hobbies!


Anonymous said…
good work! enjoyed, hope to carry out at home :)

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