|There is no material that has not been used to
write on (or scribble and cut in) at some stage, from wax-tablet
to granite-block; and, indeed, any sort of material coming from
/ made with, or of plants.
In Europe 'good' sheets for documents and books were of 'vellum' (veel, or veal = calf),
or 'parchment' (Pergamum, the city in Asia Minor, = the place
where the prepared skins of goats, and sheep were bought to serve
for writing and binding.
Paper as we know it today has a long tradition. It is thought
to be invented by Cai or Ts'ai Lun A.D. 105 (Han Dynasty, Emperor
Han Ho Ti) from a mixture of water, rags, hemp and mulberry bark,
dried in the sun, and it never changed much, considering. Longting
Town, Cai Lun's domain, in Yanxian County (Shaanxi Province)
has the 'Cai Lun Paper Culture Museum' celebraiting China's contribution
to world civilization.
In fact sheets of paper, with decipherable words on them and
dating back to 260BC - 8AD (Western Han Dynasty) have been found
in 1974 in Gansu Province.
Starting in 932 and completing in 953 the block printing of the
Books Yi, Shu, Shi, Zhou Li, Yi Li, Li Ji, (I'm sure we all heared
of the Book of Change, well that is Yi) and the commentaries
on the Spring And Autumn Annals, together with government-backed
printing in great quantity of Confucian books, show something
of large-scale publication made possible by printing on paper.
Paper has come to the west via the Arabs. The word 'paper' (papyrus
= the plant material of the Egyptians, made into a flat and uniform
sheet by peeling, slicing and pounding ever since some 5000 years
ago) gave up its origins and donated its status to 'the new product'
to show how profoundly the progress the 'new' Chinese paper changed
This 'modern' paper would open the way to printing as the West
knows it since 'Gutenberg', developer of new ways of printing
with 'movable type' earlier been craftfully deployed by Bi Sheng
working with clay type certainly between 1041 1nd 1048. This
has been described by She Kuo in the "Dream Stream Essays".
Hands On Now!
Find the material to make
your paper with, and shred it to small pieces: any old paper
would do. Just like
eating: anything you put in makes or builds the quality of your
body and what comes out.
Together with almost
rotting pieces of cloth, and plant-material (and even small particals
of material that you better put in later for special effects)
make something of a smooth pulp in a kitchen blender.
A quarter of a liter shreds, loosely in a cup, soaked in a liter
of warm water would make a fair folio size.
Much of the old paper has enough 'glue' in it for a strong blotting-paper;
2 small spoons of liquid starch per liter will make the sizing
good for writing on. Glues, bleaches and all sorts of chemicals
make 'your' paper.
The smooth pulp goes into
a water filled tub that should be a bit larger than the screen
you are going to dip in horizontally. The pulp must be spread
evenly through the water; more pulp for thick paper and less
pulp for thinner paper / though, as a matter of opinion, thicker
or thinner paper has more to do with your way of 'dipping' than
with more or less pulp in the solution.
The screen with pulp is taken
out of the basin whilst shedding the last water off. The 'deckle'
(the wooden rim put onto the up-side of your screen) is taken
off, and the paper (you more or less 'see' it change from the
watery pulp ito the sheet) is laid on cloth - felt, as it keeps
shape best in these watery-ways.
Good pressing and air- or sun-drying does the rest.
Now that's roughly all!
An artist wanting to make a paper 'fit to ideas' (which I think
is something to go for) will understand it might take a bit of
experience to do so. A few years would do to begin with, I should
think, but the nice bit is anyone can learn in a day to see how
much future one has.