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The forecasted low for tonight is 27, so I brought all my potted plants inside
and settled them on the dining room table for the winter. (Yes, it does make
dining with guests difficult, but theyíre understanding.) The philodendron was
a problem. Over the summer the vines hand grown six feet or more, snaking over
the potís edge almost to the deck, and there was no place to hang it inside.
The only option was to trim all the trailing vines, so it would fit on the table
with the rest. I was headed for the trash bin, arms loaded with trimmed vines,
when my husband passed me and made the comment, ďPaper?Ē Iím so ashamed. I
really must be out of papermaking mode. The thought never occurred to me! But
it didnít take long for me to follow through on my husbandís lead. I cut all
the leaves off leaving the leaf stems, then cut those and the vine itself up
into 1Ē lengths and cooked them for 45 minutes. I would have cooked longer, but
it was getting dark and cold. (I cook outside on the back porch.) Iíve not
made the adjustment to the change in temperature yet, and I despise getting
chilled after dark. Seems I never warm up. After washing and running the
philodendron through the bender, it was obvious that the plant material should
have been cooked longer, but there really isnít enough material to put it back
in the pot and go to that effort. There was a reception at Tourism this
evening, and I didnít get a chance to pull the pulp. It will be a project for
tomorrow after the Frankfort Book Fair.
Pulled sheets from the philodendron pulp, and it definitely wasnít cooked long
enough. The fibers broke down lengthwise to the same diameter, but had not
broken down lengthwise and there was little fine ďbinding materialĒ in the
pulp. Had to use a formation aid to give the fiber time to disperse across the
screen and form an even layer. These fibers would have been lovely mixed with
another lighter pulp, but no such luck. Thatís what I get for cleaning out the
philodendron sheets are a muddy olive green with fibers stringing across the
Because the pulp contained few fine fibers, there are pinholes throughout the
sheets. Not good paper, but not the fault of the plant. Longer cooking would
have solved the problems.
Yesterday the weather was lovely, our first day of sunshine in it seems forever,
and the temperature warmed into the 60ís. I couldnít resist going out
foraging. Down by Silver Creek the curly dock was flourishing, standing tall
above the fescue. I gathered a bag full of leaf stems, though I didnít have
time yesterday to do anything with them. Cut them up and cooked them this
afternoon. The last ones were cooked for a half hour. These I cooked for 40
minutes, thinking they really didnít look done at 30, though they probably
were. I was afraid that the extra ten minutes might make a difference in
the intensity of the purple color,
but it didnít seem to. Among the curly dock plants, I found two whose leaf
stems were totally purple, not just at the base like the others. I wished there
had been enough of those to do a separate cooking. No two papermakers working
with the same plant will come up with the same paper. I find it strange, but it
happens often enough that I shouldnít think itís odd.
sent me a small sheet of her curly dock paper.
Other than the small, curly white threads, itís little like the paper I found in
the plant. We canít account for the difference, but speculate that it may be
because of differences in growing conditions or in the actual genetic makeup of
the plants. Donít know.
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