At our recent paper making day Dinah had some processed (but not pulped) dry ginger plant fibre she wanted to work with.
The pre-cooked fibres were soaked, whizzed in the blender and the pulp was produced. Here you can see how hard it is to assess what colour the paper will end up because there is a huge difference in colour between the dry and wet fibres. Once they are formed into sheets, and depending on the thickness of these, the colour may well change again.
Here you can see the mold and deckle forming the sheets. In this case Dinah was making A5 sized pieces which fit beautifully into a small portable press.
She laid her ground pieces – a compressed foam sheet and some felt – directly onto the press, before her first couching cloth. This makes life very easy as there is no need to carry the finished layers to a big press, eliminating the possibility of dropping the whole lot. After layering her cloths and paper sheets all she needed to do was screw the press top on and allow the water to escape for a while. A fantastic system for small pages or envelopes and the like.
Above you can see a lovely sheet of paper on the couching cloth. Dinah continued creating the layers, and once all the pulp had been used she added a final cloth and piece of felt before screwing the press top on. Large (long length) wing nuts enable the press to easily be tightened to a good pressure.
The press was placed on its side to allow excess water run-off. After around 30-45 minutes the press was opened and the now-formed paper sheets were laid out to dry.
We’re all looking forward to seeing the dry papers next time. It’s more than likely that they will be substantially lighter than they appear above, when wet.