Paper!

May 7, 2011

We’ve all used paper. We’ve used it so much that we take it for granted. We write, draw, scribble, and doodle on it and when we are done with it we toss it away like a used Kleenex. It’s not wrong that you throw it away (“recycle”) but have you ever given any thought to how precious a commodity it once was? Probably not. I’m most likely alone on this one.

Let me explain. In second century B.C… Nope, too much to explain. Let me sum up. The process in very involved and it requires patience (like most things in Asia), quality wood, vibrant dyes, and a superior source of water.

Colors and Textures

Time has stood still at the Pu-Li Traditional paper plant where paper is still produced the way it was centuries ago but with the slightest of help from more modern technology.

Follow along as I blend pictures of the real process with pictures of our class’ scaled down process.

First we need wood pulp. I’m not quite sure how people get wood pulp but there you have it.

 The wood pulp is then immersed in a water bath and a screen is quickly dipped in and when it comes out there is a thin layer of wood pulp attached to it.

The screens are placed on a press and compressed until most, if not all, of the water is removed.

This was to press the water out of our paper

What we have now is a thick stack of moist towelettes.

The paper is placed on a hot surface where the creases and bubbles are coerced out and we are left with a smooth piece of paper that is ready to be cut into paper.

No matter where you go, women have a knack for ironing

Calligraphy is a high art here in Taiwan as I believe it is in most Asian countries. They believe that the way a person writes is an indication of what type of personality lies within the writer. In order to get truly good calligraphy, the ink must be applied on quality paper and that is exactly what the people at Pu-Li are trying to produce.

Quick tidbit. I’m writing this entry on our bus and we are now travelling through the longest tunnel in Taiwan: Snow Mountain Tunnel. It is 8 miles long

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