It is very enlightening to watch narrator to follow the same steps a professional hanji paper maker has done just a few seconds before. That gives you a chance to appreciate how hard is the work even if it looks simple when done by a master.
Following last weeks popular marbling post (see here), I received a number of emails from visitors about the different types of paper available and their suitability for marbling, calligraphy and use in bookbinding and restoration projects. So, today I decided to put together a post on advanced paper-making techniques as there seems only to be a limited number of resources currently on the internet, much of which is pretty hard to find. I hope it will help a few of you out there.
Note that I am no expert in papermaking but have attended numerous paper-making workshops and have visited a handful of Washi paper making factories in Japan over the years. If you have any questions on the subject, please feel free to ask in the comments section below and I’ll do my best to help where I can.
Even today many printers only uses paper hand made in selective province's in China, this special paper is made using an age old technology. The paper is called jade paper, it begins with bamboo and hemp being ground into pulp. After this, workers lie a very fine bamboo sieve vertically into the solution and let the sieve sit in this manner to collect the fibers.
The fibers are then carefully smoothed out on a wooden board until they take shape, dehydrate and become a thin piece of paper. After it is completely dried, it becomes a sheet of paper. The water used in every step from grinding the hemp and the bamboo to sieving the fabric comes from nearby mountain springs. Tap water is never used. As a result, this paper, perfectly absorbing the ink is ideal for block printing.
The first ever books in the world were the Egyptian papyrus rolls, which were composed of several columns of ancient writing scripts. The first of these manuscripts goes back as far as the 25th BC, and until the Christian era, they remained quite popular. However, during this period, the paper or the book industry underwent a transformation, and parchment started replacing the Egyptian papyrus rolls (more on Egyptian Papyrus Rolls on Wikipedia). Writing on parchments was arranged in parallel columns, and vertical lines were used to separate one column from another. This particular pattern gave rise to the idea of cutting the parchments into flat panels, which comprised of either three or four columns. Later on, this form evolved into the books we see today. Continue reading →