(hand-crafted paper making with basic tools and natural elements / part one: the pulp process)
In honor of my inner child, and dedicated to my future children.
A favorite activity throughout my childhood, providing deep joy and gratification, was making paper. Often bright in blues and purples, chunky and un-even pieces soon filled the kitchen counter space in my grandparents little apartment.
For the last few years I’ve been drawn towards creating my own journal but have lacked direction in getting started with that vision development. I downloaded a program (Booklet?) that enables you to build book designs from scratch, including uploading a full PDF, so the idea seemed easy enough, but the inspiration never came. Not a single idea came through. I have opened the program and stared blankly at it several times with no avail.
I figure maybe I need to remove the device from the equation – the device being the computer, the phone; anything electrionic that could hinder my natural creative flow. I needed the earth involved. I needed the sun and the rain, and my hands… not a device to create something from scratch, but my own head and hands.
In the background of my art and farm work, Curty and I have been practicing conscious conception in hopes to grow our family. We aren’t on a tight schedule and are staying open and light in flow at this time, but I thought it would be pretty cool if I could create something completely by hand using natural elements, in honor of my wombs ability to grow, develop, birth, and nurture its own creation; my future children. It would be spectacular to become pregnant on the first round, though, it isn’t my expectation. I do intend to continue the paper making practice throughout the period of our conception, and through my pregnancy if its something that aligns with me during that time (not sure why it wouldn’t!)
I decided to completely commit to this project, with full heart and loving intention. No additional tools, just a basic set up – allowing anyone to make paper while living off the grid and without power (like me!)
Here is a list of what I have used for making my pulp:
– a large Mason jar (x4 for my first project)
– recycled paper and/or cardboard (you can mix). i have used old journals pieces, old letters, old home-made paper twice recycled, recipe cards, card stock…
– spring-fed water • you can collect rain water if you do not have access
– anything you’d like to use to color code your pulp, such as paint. I used old watercolor paint chips, flowers, seeds, herbs, and spices.
– the sun (not necessary, I just decided to “charge” my pulp in the sun for 7 days.)
To be fair, I did end up getting a blender for this project and had every intention on using it, until I realized that we don’t have power and doing such wouldn’t be possible until winter time. This project needed my full attention and was to be like a full body experience. I needed to do it by hand. I needed to connect to what I was creating, and make an honorable celebration out of it. I don’t know why I’m being called to practice and treat it in such a way but I’m letting my intuition lead the way.
I have four jars to face the four directions. In each jar I chose different materials, a unique color, and its own positive affirmation / prayer.
1 • North • Yellow For The Soul • “Thank you for your guidance and for keeping me safe.” [Pulp made with old journal entries on recycled paper, white and yellow cardstock, a daphodil and dried calendula]
2 • South • Mother Day Dream • “Thank you for my patience and compassion.” [purple and blue cardstalk, recycled paper, blue and purple dried flowers, pieces of leftover watercolor paint, rose petals from wells grey, unknown purple flowers from the cranberry marsh, beet seeds, a fortune cookie that reads “when opportunity knocks, answer the door.”]
3 • East • The Release • “I release all that does not serve my highest good. I welcome Love and Light.” *there was so much ink from this batch that it needed to be rinsed twice! a true cleansing and release! [green, red, white cardstock, recycled paper, dried leaves from mothers day bouquet, dried sage from yellowhead, old letters from the past, envelops with my name on them (shedding, new beginnings). The theme behind this pulp is rebirth and release. Lots of green to represent the heart chakra and mother earth).
4 • West • Wild Rose • “I am abundant in Love and Beauty.” [dried wild rose petals, pink and red cardstock, recycled paper, dried rose]
It should also be noted that the pulp crafting (and remaining project process) takes place on Sundays 😊
Tomorrow, 7 days from start day, I will be commencing the pulping and paper- making process! I am totally aware that this may end up as a physical labor job but I am totally prepared for that.
I love that I’m getting my hands involved in the process of making this come together. I’ve never done it this way before so I haven’t a clue of the process, but the intentions there so I’m sure that helps? Hahaha
I’ve had to add a tiny bit of water to the jars only once throughout the week, and have been shaking them daily to make sure all the paper gets soaked. They’ve been sitting through mainly sunny days but also two big storms.
Once the paper has been made to pulp, I’ll be making some pages, and when that is completed and I’m grinning like a kid on Christmas, I’ll write up another blog to showcase the second part of the process.
I can’t help but wonder how these intentional practices will effect the overall process, result, and feeling of the paper in the end. I have yet to make my screened frames (I prefer to use simple terms, sorry to all you professional makers lol) and I will be using a linen sheet to dry my pages. Once they’re dried I will sort them into their proper colors, and most likely create four separate journals – if I am severely lacking in quantity (due to small pulp batches), I may put them aside and do another round; but who knows what inspiration may draw up at that time.
What would you do with the colored pages? Would you keep them and make something for yourself? Or would you be tempted to create tags & sell them as stationary items? Bookmarks? Wedding place cards? Birth-way invitations? The opportunities are seriously endless here and thats why I am so damn excited about this practice 💗 Lets see what happens!
Have you ever made paper? Tell me about your experience in the comments!