Hand Papermaking in Central Burma and Northern Thailand

By , September 9, 2006 11:22 pm

Hand Papermaking in Central Burma and Northern Thailand
Bamboo Straw Paper

From the rice straw papermaking village of Nyang Gone, it is a short oxen’s or bullock’s ride to the bamboo straw papermaking village of Daung Ma, which means “pea hen.” Three families currently make this specialized paper in this village. U Htun Shwe’s family demonstrated the papermaking process. The procedure to produce bamboo straw paper is similar to the methods used to make rice straw paper, but a meticulous and methodical approach is necessary for good results. The material is gathered locally before six months of age when a hollow cavity will begin to form in the center of the stalk. It is cut between the nodes, the outer “bark. is stripped, and splints are made of the material. The pithy inner core is not used for papermaking.

The splints ret in lime and water for three to six years. There are fewer and fewer families making this paper, yet there is a steady demand for it. in an effort to satisfy the need, the resting time is sometimes shortened. After the resting time has elapsed, the bamboo will be cooked in boiling water for a day and a half. Afterwards, the fibers are splayed by pounding with a wooden hammer on a rock.

Next comes the very precise and tedious beating process done by hand for one hundred fifty hours. One batch of pulp, approximately one pound, produces twelve, two by four foot sheets.

This is some time and labor intensive paper.  The article goes into 4 different papers and methods of making paper by hand.  Paper making is another thing I want to try that I most likely wont ever get around to.

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