How Saa paper is made
Saa paper starts as the bark of the mulberry tree, common across Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. This plant (Broussonetia Papyrifera Vent) is a common, rapidly growing, and non-cultured flora that rapidly fills untended environments. The material of this plant is perfectly sustainable as it is essentially a weed, replacing itself faster than it can be used.
Mulberry tree bark is harvested
Handmade paper is actually the second main use of the mulberry tree. Silkworms can only produce quality silk while keeping to a diet of mulberry leaves. As the bushes mature, the leaves are no longer appetizing to the silkworm. At that point the bark and leaves are stripped (and ultimately grow back) for use in making Saa paper.
Natural paper material is boiled
The mulberry bark is soaked in clean water for about a day until it is softer and more pliable. It is then boiled in a salt water solution for a couple of hours to break down the internal strength of the plant cellulose. After boiling, the salt solution is rinsed away from the fiber, resulting in the basic raw fiber which makes up the essence of the paper.
Mulberry strips are whitened for uniform color
Handmade paper has to be a uniform color in order to consistently hold any dye added further in the paper making process. Salt treated in a chlorine solution is used to remove the color inconsistencies in the raw material. The whitening agent is then thoroughly rinsed away to prevent it from interfering in additional coloration.
Raw material is sorted for quality
After the raw bark is soaked, cleaned, and treated for uniform color there still remain natural variations. The low-impact, handmade processing means that even after a few days of handling the material can still be grouped by hue and roughness. The most delicate and regular-hued segments are chosen for paper, while rougher and darker segments are destined for rope or thicker boards.
Handmade paper pulp
Saa paper now begins its real transformation. The raw material has been groomed and selected for consistent texture and color. This step is crucial in the final texture and feel of the paper. In preparation for its coloring, the paper is now immersed in cold water and agitated repeatedly through a blunt thresher to create a granular pulp.
Handmade paper coloring
As the fibers are being crushed and separated, traditional dyes are added into the cold water solution. The color is therefore dyeing the pulp as it is ground into a mash of cellulose so fine that the rich colors come through as close to true and with minimal dilution and variation in the final paper.
Paper making revealed
The Saa paper pulp is then allowed to sit for a few minutes after the agitator is removed from the pulping bin. The ground, dyed fibers then rise to the top and are collected on a light screen that draws out even layers of pulp for the final drying process.
The sun finishes the work
The smooth and evenly-layered pulp is now essentially dissolved cellulose amalgam. The sun, while drying the pulp, evaporates the water in the solution as the trays are exposed on alternating sides, fixing the pulp together into sheets with the natural adhesive that was formed in the pulping process.
Dried screens are collected
Saa paper sheets have now formed in the screen trays and are collected from the drying yard. The paper is now carefully separated from the reusable mesh screens. The finished handmade paper is limited to only a couple of standard sizes - set by optimizing size, screen handling, and safe paper separation.
Handmade gift boxes
The natural paper is often used to make gift boxes soon after drying. Each box is touched by a human, generally working at the family home. The irregular handmade paper canít be handled easily by machines; so this paper and the products made with it are among the least industrial products in the market.
Eastern Serenity packaging
Eastern Serenity pre-packages most items (indicated by
) in gift boxes made from this extraordinary paper. The packaging is re-usable for a surprisingly long time and will surely have a life of its own. Our indicia stickers on the boxes can be easily removed for alternate uses.