Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Kozo will break your heart

cleaning kozo
Originally uploaded by mightcould
One of my recent papermaking ventures was making Alabama Kozo Paper. It's a process I've never attempted alone, and certainly not something I should have accelerated into an exhausting three-day venture, but I did manage to get 80 okay sheets out of the endeavor.
Stripping the fiber is itself a challenging process; I spent about eight hours with soggy hands trying to get as much chiri from my kozo fiber as possible. I ended up with some "dirty" kozo, so obviously I wasn't as meticulous as I could have been, but by the time I decided to stop, I had cuts and blisters on both hands. I think my wounds are testament enough to my valiant efforts.
Every other step of the papermaking process is just as time-intensive as stripping the fiber. After a 45 minute cook, I spent about three hours hand beating my fiber, and one that was finished, the actual papermaking took two days.
I'll be attempting to make shifu, a paper yarn, from my finished sheets and create some sculptural knits. It will require a lot of starch, my trusty drop spindle, and a willingness to make some mistakes. It'll be okay as long as I can get just enough yarn for the project I'm planning.

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