A Paper Journey: Travels among the village papermakers of India and Nepal
Place Published: New Castle, Delaware
Publisher: Oak Knoll Books
Date Published: 1993
Edition: Limited Edition
Book Id: 39374
103pp. Octavo [23.5 cm] 1/2 natural beige cloth with red and white decoratively patterned paper over boards, and a red leather silver stamped title label on the spine. With twenty tipped-in paper samples.
Number 8 in an edition of 210 copies printed on Arches mouldmade paper at the Bird & Bull Press. From Oak Knoll Press- "This book is a fascinating and entertaining account of contemporary hand papermaking in India and Nepal. The reader is led on a journey from Rajasthan in the northwest of India to Pondicherry in the south, from the cotton growing country of Gujarat to the boulder-strewn plateau of the Deccan, from the Katmandu valley in Nepal to the foothills of the Himalayas. Hand papermaking in India and Nepal is steeped in history and interwoven with village life. Along this journey we learn many interesting details, not only of the techniques and methods of making paper, but also of everyday life in India and Nepal. We experience a ride in the second class carriage of an Indian train; an eight-hour car journey through the night in an Indian version of a 1950s Morris Oxford, with a retired army driver at the wheel; and a treacherous walk up the Nepalese mountains while being overtaken by barefoot porters carrying seventy-kilo loads! There are also, of course, detailed descriptions of the techniques used to make paper. In Sanganer, we learn the papermakers use a "mould" made of hollow grass stems called a chapri, and we experience the making of a chapri while sitting on a charpoy (a string bed) sipping tea. At the Kalam Kush paper mill, we watch rags being sorted, hollander beaters disintegrating fibre, and paper being made on European style moulds by papermakers who work from a standing position and pour the pulp onto the mould. It is an enjoyable way to learn about the different techniques used and the reasons why they were developed. Before commencing this journey, we are informed that a sheet of paper made by hand contains in the pattern of its fibers, in the texture of its surface, in its imperfections, the story of its own origin. The surface of a sheet of Nepalese handmade paper is full of tiny specks, which reflect and glitter in the sunlight, because it is made at three thousand meters in the mountains where the fast-flowing mountain stream contains mica, worn away from the rocks. A paper's origin is an underlying theme of this book, and it is a feature which is visually represented by twenty full-page, tipped-in samples of actual handmade papers from India and Nepal gathered by the author during his visits. These colorful papers provide the reader with a real appreciation of how a sheet of paper contains a message and reveals its own journey on the paper road. A fine book on paper history would not be complete unless it were produced by Henry Morris of the Bird & Bull Press. He has designed this book and printed it by letterpress on imported Arches mouldmade paper. Along with the twenty paper samples, this book contains thirty-one black-and-white illustrations, a chronology of papermaking in India and Nepal, and a select bibliography."