We are passionate about our portable studio model, which is the cornerstone of Peace Paper Project. It is not just about convenience; this system has become our passport to connecting with international communities. The benefits of hand papermaking are most clearly experienced first-hand, so it makes our work all the more accessible to have the equipment that we use handy and easy to transport.
We invite you to contact us if you have any questions regarding information on materials or scheduling a visitation by Peace Paper Project.
Whether you are a novice or a long-time papermaker, the two most essential books on hand papermaking are Papermaking: History and Technique by Dard Hunter, and
The Papermaker's Companion by Helen Hiebert. Dard Hunter's book offers an in depth history, while Helen Hiebert breaks down the components of papermaking into thorough and accessible descriptions.
Breaking rag is one of the first steps of making paper. Scissors are a crucial tool, used for removing non-cellulose materials and snipping the remaining material into small postage stamp size pieces. A good pair of scissors is worth its weight in gold, although they eventually become dull and need replacement. Having several pairs on hand is essential for workshops and a good way to share the process with friends and family.
Cutting rag with scissors is a good start, however the key tool for breaking rag is the Hollander beater. This machine pulverizes the rag into pulp.
The Hollander beater was invented in the late 17th century and quickly replaced the large water powered wooden hammers called stampers. The Hollander beater has evolved over the last three hundred years, shifting from a massive stationary machine to today's smaller cast iron and stainless steel studio models.
This machine easily folds up and fits into a suitcase and can be transported in the trunk of a car, checked at the airport or shipped in the mail.
This noteworthy innovation allows for the contemporary papermaker to bring the studio anywhere, whether a private retreat, public street festival or community center.
The papermaker is no longer limited to bringing people to his or her studio, rather the papermaker is able to bring the studio to the people.
Once the material is pulped, the next step is to form the paper. The essential tools for this process are buckets and vats, a mould & deckle, a couple of press boards and synthetic interfacing (or pellon).
The buckets, vats and press boards are easily found at your local hardware store.
Interfacing (synthetic felting or pellon) is used to separate the freshly formed sheets of paper in a stack, and can be purchased at a fabric store or Carriage House Paper.
The mould & deckle is used to capture the pulp by passing it through the slurry-filled vat. You can make your own mould & deckle or it can be purchased.
The wood for this tool is generally made out of hardwood, and is soaked and dried to test for warping before construction. Some student moulds are constructed out of laminated plywood, but these are not as durable and best avoided.
The screening that is used has a broad range. Traditionally, reed, bamboo and brass laid screen would be sewn together making a laid mould.
Today, woven moulds are more common; brass and heat stretch polypropylene can be acquired fairly easily.
If you are looking to purchase pre-made moulds we recommend hardwood workshop & production moulds with polypropylene screen.
After the pulp is formed into sheets of paper, the stack is pressed and hung to dry.
The easiest method of drying paper is hanging the wet sheets (while still on the interfacing) from a sturdy clothes line, in an enclosed area. A fan can be used on the lowest setting to help with air circulation.
What makes the portable paper studio so appealing is its ability to fit into a few small boxes or cases. This allows for all of the essential tools to be set up or stored anywhere.
Video of the portable paper studio in action during our Artist Residency at A Reason To Survive, National City, CA in 2015.