Handmade Paper

a Personal Passion

Texture, texture and more texture, with color and fiber thrown in the mix – handmade paper, a centuries old craft, is all about visual and tactile appeal.

When I was about 12 years old I read a book on the history of papermaking,and I was so fascinated with what seemed to me to be a wonderful adventure story, that the idea of handmade paper lingered in the back of my mind for a few years.

Then I forgot about it, and got on with life.

And then, about 25 years ago, I fell in love with handmade paper all over again.

I don’t even remember what this second impetus was, but I signed up for a 2 week intensive papermaking workshop at a wonderful art school in Portland, Oregon - the Oregon College of Art and Craft.

And, I can unequivocally state that papermaking is an amazingly seductive medium and art form to work in.

Long before the workshop was over I was lustfully looking at anything that did not “move under its own steam” as a possibility for tossing into the blender.

Handmade paper on an international level

Then, daily life set in again (as it does) and once more I forgot about handmade paper until Art (the husband, not the concept) and I began attending international trade shows in pursuit of the strange and wonderful stuff we wanted for our growing company, loose ends (lots of stories to tell there).

We were always looking for handmade art and craft, and eventually we came upon a few vendors working with paper pulp and papermaking – and, just like an old flame, that spark was instantly re-ignited and the love affair was back in full swing.

And, since I am not one to do things in a lukewarm way – before long our handmade paper inventory was topping the 800 different styles/patterns mark!

We were making several trips each year overseas to meet with our artist/vendors (was this the best job in the world or what???), and Art and I always personally worked with many of our papermakers to jointly decide on fibers, colors, etc.

A trip to the “factory” usually meant scouting around someone’s backyard where the local people would work together to make the paper. Much of the work is done in the same way it has been done for centuries, with little or no mechanization.

(On one trip, we watched some of our paper being “couched” from the framed deckle, then the wet sheets were hung with the family nighties and undershirts and the rest of the wash on the backyard clothesline).

If you are a paper person, then you know that there is no such thing as too many pieces of paper, scraps of paper, torn bits of paper, castoff paper . . . . drawers fill, shelves overflow, but there is always another seductive piece that you just HAVE to have!

My approach to handmade paper is very non-traditional. I am interested in what I can do with it – the art ideas, the decorating ideas, its visual appeal, its textural qualities and perhaps most of all, the emotions it conjures up in me as I work with it.

For that reason, we categorize our papers by “Collections” that have more to do with their “personality” than with their ingredients, and with the infinity of art and decorating ideas that you can conjure up using this wonderful stuff as your medium. The creative possibilities with hand made paper are truly limited only by your own imagination.

Since hand made paper and the paper pulp can be made from almost any fiber, the diversity is endless, and even with the same fibers there will always be differences from one batch to the next, and certainly from one season to the next. The organic material itself, in any type of hand crafted paper, changes depending on weather, growing cycles,(what bird feathers were gathered that day!), etc.

This is part of the beauty, the romance and the mystique of handmade paper. And it is also this quality that gave birth to the loose ends' “handmade paper guarantee"

“This paper is handmade from organic and natural materials. Since the nature of this product is subject to the weather, seasons, and other whims of Mother Nature, we can guarantee that it will probably not be consistent in color or texture from one piece to the next, or one batch to the next”.

And to any and all who work in this fascinating medium, we also offer this bit of wisdom . . . “Handmade paper brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘dye lot’.”

If you are wanting to try your hand at making your own paper we have our “Basic Papermaking Recipe" that can easily be done with paper and materials you already have around the house.

For those intrepid souls that really want to dive into it, there are many, many great books on hand papermaking, with detailed instructions on the various fibers and how to prepare them.

And, if you just want to get your hands on some of the fabulous stuff, check out the loose ends' handmade paper collections

return from Handmade Paper, a Personal Passion to Art Decorating Ideas, Unleashed!

Basic Papermaking Recipe, Messy but Fun!

Paper Making Possibilities, To Pulp or not to Pulp, That is the Question