Mulberry strips are whitened for uniform colorHandmade paper has to be a uniform color in order to consistently hold any dye added further in the traditional process of handmade mulberry paper. 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 paper material is sorted for qualityAfter 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 paper 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 pulpSaa paper now begins its real transformation. The raw paper 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 coloringAs 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 revealedThe 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 workThe 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 collectedSaa 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.