Wednesday, 21 April 2010

papier draad (Japanese paper and felt bead necklace)

This necklace has been made with paper yarn, following a method used in Japan.  It's quite laborious starting with preparing the bark from the kozo tree, a kind of mulberry tree.  The bark is cooked with soda until the fibres soften.  It is then thoroughly rinsed in cold water, traditionally this was done by rinsing it in a stream.  Before it can be used to make paper, it needs to be beaten to seperate the fibres, so they are not too clumpy. 

To form good even and thin sheets a special viscous substance called formation aid is added to the vat.  This allows the fibre to flow slowly back and forth on the papermaking mould as the water drains through. The newly formed sheets are stacked on top of each other and pressed over night to squeeze most of the water out. The next day they can be separated one by one and layed out on a flat surface to dry.

So, now the paper's ready it can be turned into yarn.  This works best if the paper is dampened slightly.  It is trimmed into strips and rolled.  The short strips can then be joined together similar to how wool is twisted and joined together to form yarn.

Before making the necklace I treated the yarn with a waterproofer to give extra strength.  The hand felted beads are made from undied sheeps wool.

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