Making your own paper is a fun way to spend an afternoon, although I’m sure the whole process is very time consuming!

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When we first arrived in Chiang Mai a few months ago we accidentally found a lovely paper shop selling all sorts of beautiful handmade paper. We couldn’t help but buy a few sheet and found out that they export paper to Australia and that they also run little paper making courses at their factory.

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I have always been interested in paper making but never had to opportunity to learn how its done so last week we decided we should give it a go. We were picked up by Mr Kenji Owaki from HQ Papermaker and driven about 45 minutes out of town through the countryside to their ‘factory’.

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We were given a quick tour of their little factory, which is run by about 6/8 people, and the process was explained. The paper is mainly mulberry paper. There is only a lonesome looking mulberry tree on the premises – the mulberry wood is actually bought in from somewhere else.

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We were shown where the wood is boiled and some bleached, then shredded and turned into pulp in big mixers. After the pulp is manipulated and spread on large screen frames, drained and put in the sun to dry.

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Bruce and I enjoyed making a few different types of paper and creating some unique ones using flowers and leaves collected from the garden. The factory manager was very patient and kept going off to collect more bits and pieces to add to our designs and checked that we were spreading the pulp carefully!

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We also made some smooth paper which is passed over a vacuum suction and then rubbed with the top of a bowl! The brown paper is recycled craft paper not the mulberry.

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We were also joined by some photographer who was writing an article for a local magazine so we will apparently be featured in Decembers issue! Oh dear!

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We made about six full sheets each and left them to dry in the sun! It was decided that the best thing to do was to post the paper back to Australia so we don’t have to cart them around for the next few months while we are travelling around. Not sure if they will need to be fumigated after adding all those flowers or if we get them!

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Hopefully some of mine get incorporated into some creative artworks and collages.