Pondicherry is famous for Creating and exporting a wide range of colorful, eco-friendly handmade paper, marbled paper, handcrafted stationery and gift packaging.
All papers are produced from pure white hosiery cuttings (cotton rag), the richest natural source of alpha-cellulose. Handmade paper can also be made using scraps of cotton, jute, coconut fiber, barks of banana trees, straw, and even husk. It is developed with careful handling and inspection of each individual sheet.
Aurobindo Paper Factory
Sri Aurobindo Handmade Paper Factory is controlled by the Ashram. The Hand Made Paper Factory, started in 1959, is internationally known for the strong and beautifully colored paper it produces by hand. This factory produces quality handmade paper. It specializes in white drawing paper and bond stationery paper in a range of forty colours. The most successful items are the special papers: bamboo, rice husk, gunny, straw, algae and tea leaves in paper pulp so that an abstract design is created on the paper when it finally emerges. Another successful item is marbled paper with which stationery items are made. Marbling is a Japanese art of abstract painting done on water. Every sheet of paper is an individual work of art and varies both in shade and design. 50% of the products made in the Hand Made Paper Factory are exported to USA, Europe and Asia. Apart from paper there are a wide range of exquisite products produced here. You must not miss to visit this place.
The procedure used for its preparation:
1. SORTING & DUSTING: White cotton scraps of all sizes are manually sorted to remove stray threads and stones.
2. RAG CHOPPING: Then, there is the ‘rag chopper’, a machine that cuts the thousands of scraps into uniform pieces. In the past this process was done manually using a curved knife mounted on a wooden board.
3. BEATING: After being cleaned in a tub, the scraps are again thrown into a tub, and beaten into a pulp. According to the color required, dyes are also added. Then mixture is stirred continuously, for at least six hours. . Inert chemicals, like rosin soap and alum are added to give the paper the desired consistency and blot free characteristic.
4. SHEET FORMATION: Depending on the thickness of the paper required, the pulp is diluted by mixing it with water.
- For making colored and or textured papers, the color dyes and or textured materials like straw, hemp, grass, silk and jute fibers etc., are added during this process.
- One can use color and skill to create vivid patterns, before laying the sheet out on the water to make marbled paper.
- In the case of mill-made paper, the pulp is directly fed into machines to make sheets. Liters of water gush out from under the menacing hydraulic press, as the sheets are squeezed together.
5. DRYING: Each sheet is dried in the open air. For colored papers drying in the shade, though slower, is preferred in order to obtain uniform color on both sides of the sheet. Each wrinkled, dry sheet is then checked, and lumps and dirt scraped out. After smoothing out the sheets and giving them the desired finish, each sheet is checked yet again — to ensure it have the right weight, thickness and appearance.
6. CUTTING: Finally, these sheets are cut to the required size, either to be sent directly to boutiques, or to make things such as boxes, frames, and notebooks.
So, if you really like to see the handmade paper factory of Puducherry, you must visit there. Plan your Pondicherry trip with The Other Home and stay in any vacation rentals India, homestay in India etc.