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archives are full of interesting(?) ideas. Elephant dung paper. Rhino dung
paper. H’okay. Friend John has llamas. Why not llama dung paper? Emailed him
and got permission to have all the dung I wanted. Am I really sure I want to do
this? Yes, I am! …I think.
Loaded up buckets, bags and a shovel this AM and headed for Jessamine Co to get
the llama poop. Couldn’t locate John’s, so ended up going to Jo’s for horse
manure. Intended to harvest some great bulrush while I was there, but the seep
had dried up, so that source is gone. Got home, put the manure in a pot and
covered it with water to soak overnight.
This morning the manure stank like something that had been dead for a week. (I
really must quit reading the papermaking archives. Way too many weird ideas
there.) Poured the wet manure into an old pillowcase and hosed it down four or
five times. That killed the stench. Put it back in the pot, added A&H washing
soda and cooked for a couple of hours (outside), then washed and blended the
goop. Didn’t smell at all bad, much like cooked grass, but still looked like
manure and none too promising. Pulled a couple of test sheets, put under
pressure to dry. The
horse dung paper
turned out amazingly pretty! Can be pulled very thin, yet still be strong.
Pulled an envelope and card to send to Jo as a thank you.
Pulled envelopes and 5”x7” sheets from the roadapple pulp. (Pulp still smells
like cooked grass, not at all unpleasant. Paper is essentially odorless.) This
was the first time I’d used the foamcore envelope mold/deckle I’d made. The
screen is too loose and sags. Can’t figure a way to tighten and secure it, so
I’ll try putting soft foam padding around the edge of the deckle and see what
that does. Stopped at the railroad tracks across from the Guild office and
harvested some great bulrush.
Set it on to
Pulled envelopes with the
I’d made adjustments to. Worked well; seepage under the deckle stopped. Pulled
insert cards for the envelopes, then discovered this evening that I’d created
the card mold slightly too small. The cards look lost in the envelope. The
mold will work for the inside cards, though. Will make another, larger mold
Made the new card mold this AM. This PM cut and stripped a catalpa tree I’d
filched from the Guild office lot and put the inside bark on to cook with A&H
soda. Took about three hours. Drained, rinsed several times and left soaking
for tomorrow. NOTE: Catalpa bark stains hands a deep, rich brown and even pure
beach won’t do much to remove it. I have a formal dinner date tomorrow. This
should prove interesting.
Processed the cooked inner catalpa bark in a blender; so much for the idea that
it will make paper. Very coarse. Actually, though, it may make a lovely
inclusion. Some fibers are golden brown; others are sort of orangish. I’ll
work with that tomorrow. Am experimenting today with less labor intensive ways
to dry sheets. After “foot pressing” pulled sheets for envelopes, I stacked
them with nothing between, then put in the book press between two sheets of thin
Davey board. Left it for ten or fifteen minutes, then took it out and air
dried. No cockling, but a slight curl developed. When the stack was nearly
dry, I placed it between Davey boards, repressed for about ten minutes, then
stuck it under a couple of books. This evening, I pulled the sheets apart. The
was abaca with quite a bit of straw and a little bulrush for color. Since the
sheets were not book pressed individually, the texture of the straw in one sheet
showed up on the next. Not enough to be objectionable, but I wouldn’t want to
do it this way with writing paper. Texturing would be excellent for outside
cards. NOTE: There was no methylcellulose in the pulp. Not sure what would
happen, as far as sticking, had there been.
Mr. Murphy did not exempt papermakers from his Laws. Fell under two of them
today: 1) If you are pulling paper, you will be molting; 2) If you must pull
pure white paper today, yesterday you pulled sheets with dark inclusions.
Finally pitched the idea of white cards/envelopes and pulled some with the
catalpa bark inclusions. A small amount of the catalpa bark in abaca makes and
an elegant card and envelope. (NOTE: Adding human hair detracts markedly from
that elegance.) Created a mold and deckle arrangement to produce an
oval opening in the card.
Spent part of the morning reclaiming the back porch and deck from the paper
gods. Moving to bookbinding now for a while.
Okay, so I lied. Randy (next door neighbor) is having major yard work done and
he offered me whatever plants I wanted. I harvested a mulberry from beside his
house, stripped it and hung the inner bark to dry. (Or maybe that doesn’t
The early spiderwort plant beside the deck was looking ratty, ready to be cut,
so I did. Cut it up and cooked it. Pulled
pressed and dried it to see how it looks. It’s thin, very textured looking,
very pretty. The cat had a vet appointment in the PM, so I refrigerated the
remaining pulp. I’ll pull six or eight sheets tomorrow, then freeze or crumble
dry the rest of the pulp. I’m trying to get away from paper and back into
books, but not having much luck at it.
Mark Lander’s Hollander came today. (Fat chance of getting away from paper
now.) I wasn’t ready for to show up on my doorstep yet. Six days shipping from
New Zealand to Kentucky? Unbelievable! One of the disadvantages to living in a
small town is the inability to find odd items when you need them. Apparently,
the ˝ hp electrical motor needed to run the Hollander falls into that “odd item”
category. I didn’t exhaust sources here, since it was Saturday afternoon when I
started looking, but it doesn’t look good for finding it in Berea. That becomes
Monday’s project now. If worst comes to worst, I’ll cannibalize the motor from
the belt sander. Pulled eight more sheets from the spiderwort, then froze the
rest of the pulp. The sheets are every bit as pretty as the first. Because I
cooked the flowerheads along with the stems and leaves, there are small seeds –
some reddish brown, some black -- in the sheets. The paper is dried under
pressure, so these present no problem; they just mash out flat. Makes a nice
inclusion done this way, but I can see them being a problem in paper not pressed
Cut and cooked
this evening and pulled a test sheet. Makes nice paper, but if I do it again, I
won’t include the heavy stems. They simply wouldn’t cook up, and I had to pick
them out by hand. Glad I didn’t stew up more than I did!
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