Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Crafting Paper

Paper originated in China [c. 2nd century] but did not reach Europe until the mid 14th century, the late Middle Ages. Prior to paper, medieval scribes [often monks] used parchment or vellum - stretched and smoothed skins of goats and calves. Medieval paper was made of linen rags, which I used. I let linens soak in bleach to break down fibers. Traditionally this was done by soaking for a longer period of time without bleach. After the linen disintegrates it is beaten [for this I used a blender]; this mixed with water makes linen pulp. A frame of wires is then dipped in a vat of pulp, the frame picks up fibers while the water drips through. I used a pre-made screen rather than wires on my frame. The fibers interlock creating paper and from the frame the paper is transferred onto an absorbent felt then pressed [I used the book press that I made].

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