Crafts of India: Papermaking

Whilst in India with my friends, we visited a few different craft producers in the state of Rajasthan, so this is the first of a series of posts showing the craftspeople at work.

In Sanganer, on the outskirts of Jaipur, we visited a traditional hand paper making factory. Here we saw paper still being made, one sheet at a time, by dipping a mold into a vat of cotton pulp (this is very different stuff from the wood pulp paper we use everyday). This traditional craft ceased production in England in 1987, but it continues in a number of countries around the world.

Cotton pulp

The paper is made from cotton pulp, which is a traditional material that produces very strong yet soft paper. The material is sourced as offcuts from a t-shirt factory.

Pulping machine

This pulping machine breaks the cotton scraps down into small fluffy pieces.

Hollander beaterThe pulp is then transferred to a “Hollander” beater which further breaks down the pulp and blends it with water until it is the right consistency. This type of machine would have been in common use in Britain over 100 years ago!

The workers produce a new sheet of paper by dipping a mold into a vat of pulp – getting an even sheet is a highly skilled job.

The new sheet is lifted off the mold and stacked.

 A stack of freshly molded paper. This batch has a scattering of rose petals embedded in each sheet.

These freshly harvested roses provide the petals that are embedded in the paper.

Each petal is separated from the roses by hand!

This is the press used to squeeze water out of the newly made sheets.

Final drying is achieved by hanging the sheets individually from wires in the roof space.

Each sheet of paper is checked for quality before being carefully stacked.

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5 thoughts on “Crafts of India: Papermaking

  1. Pingback: Crafts of India – Hand Embroidery | Wai-Yuk Kennedy Textile Art

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