I’m Ray Tomasso , I’m a 1979 MFA graduate at the university of Colorado. I’ve been making paper since 74, which is almost four years now. I’m a founding member of the international association of hand paper makers and paper artists. Headquartered in Switzerland, under swiss charter I was the first president and first vice president and second president of the organization. and what I’m going to show you today is how I make paper What I’ve taken from the last thirty years and applied to the technology I use Paper making in Asia was done with plant fiber, the bass fiber, misamato, gampe, cozo. and basically using the white inner bark of the plant that draws water up and down the stem of the plant just inside the bark So it’s the white inner bark and it’s the same fiber used in tapa and in the bark papers of Mexico The problem is that when paper making came to Europe, that was not available what was available was rags, predominately linen rags, because linen was easier to produce hemp was a lower grade fiber that was used mostly for rope and other miscellaneous objects. It wasn’t the quality that linen was, and third you had cotton Cotton was harder to process at the time because of the seed fiber So it was harder to get the seeds out so it was a lot more work to process cotton than it was to take linen and ret linen. and then you process the linen. So, when your selecting a rag you’d have a cotton rag such as this T-shirt. This is a T-shirt I got in 1991. I just wore it out and your looking at the printing ink here. This Printing ink being 20 years older it’s a lot easier to beat up. But still the newer T-shirts allow you, the harder inks, and the create an effect like sand in the paper So it’s easier just to cut that out, also it would you know if your doing white paper that would discolor the white paper you can read the labels, the labels being polyester, you don’t want to use those but the labels are really the indication. Right here it says 100% cotton in five languages, which is very helpful. and then you have to look at the back of the T-shirt Vaguely rememeber the back of your T-shirt having printing on it. so that would get rid of your requirements there, and then this T-shirt is ready for the grinder which I’ll show you in a second. sometimes you get questionable rags, sometimes their labeled like this one’s probably 50% polyester or better If you don’t have a label on it you can do a burn test and the burn test would be simple as this. your looking at that flame and it burns just like plastic. You see that black smoke coming off the back of it? and then when you blow it out, you look at the ash and you feel the ash and the ash is crispy It has that hard little plastic feel to it, like melted plastic. and it’s crunchy When you have a piece of 100% cotton, like we just cut off this T-shirt and you burn it. It’ll burn just about the same. Little harder to blow out. and now when you feel the ash, it’ll just powder It’ll be a soft powdery ash coming off that, and that how you determine whether it’s a natural fiber as opposed to having any polyester in it Now you can use polyester in the fiber, but you’ll have problem when you go to print it with ink The ink won’t adhere to the polyester, while the ink would adhere to the cotton, or the linen, or the hemp So, we’ve got the T-shirt, we cut out the name plate on the front of the T-shirt. This is an industrial shredder. and you simply feed the T-shirt in it, and the T-shirt comes out like that. Same thing happens with a pair of blue jeans You can feed a pair of blue jeans in hereand water skit in the machine You don’t get anything back so the rags would go in once, and then a third time Second time and then a third time That was a nice seam basically industrial cutter, instead of using this kind of a cutter right now, what they would have is a rag sorter sitting in a bench with a side blade sticking out of the bench, they’d be pulling the rags into it, shredding them. Then they’d send the rags to a duster which is a big wire cage that was turned to remove miscellaneous dirt and animal matter, because these rags were picked up by rag pickers, which were pulled out of the streets and might have all sorts of stuff on them. We’ll take about a pound, which actually is a bout two T-shirts and weigh it out Because that’s about what the beater will take The beater is then filled with water Okay, basically at this point, you have a pound of rags measured out you turn on the filtering system, this filters out miscellaneous chemicals they add to the water supply that you don’t need The beater is filled. You turn the beater on. You take the weight off, and you start adding the rags. and slowly feeding them through and at this point it’s kind of like a steak, you just feed some bite size pieces in and add a little bit of weight You start reducing the rags and what your doing at this point is beating them Traditionally what you would have is a set of stampers, the rags were larger chunks. If you were doing a, say a commercial beater, which was due at 25 pounds, your pieces can be a lot larger because of the huge weight This being a smaller laboratory beater, requires smaller chunks It really likes quarter inch size chunks and this’ll be for 5-6 hours per pound so you can keep track of how it beats. It’s a time weight ratio. So this would be the larger weight. you can already notice that the beater isn’t bouncing as much. Some of those rags have been reduced. The other way you can tell how the beating is going, you can listen to the sound and the pitch change. This will aloww you to determine where the fiber is at This is a beater, the twentieth generation of a beater that I had built for me when I was at CU It’s aluminium, it’s really corse roll with broad teeth that run against the set of bed teeth at about 500 RPM’s in this troth The water circulates around here, goes through the roll, over the backfall, and around. and the design of the beater is so much that you come up with a design for the backfall, which controls the speed and you come up with a bed plate, that designs the beating, and then the teeth on the roll, and how that beats So, the commercial beater, the lab beater you saw first, have this thin hardest rockwell steel that they make for the teeth And those are clipped to a castiron roll, the bed plate are the same blades in the base with wood in between to absorb the shock So that beater works a lot better on rags. This beater works a lot better if your using recycled materials such as matte board, recycled paper It’ll do a really nice sculptural pulp. It doesn’t quite have the same weight that this beater has to do the pounding that you need to do It has this hook on the back where you hang a five gallon bucket of water to increase the weight but it still doesnt have enough power So the kickstand comes out, and has a nice holder on the backside for the kickstand Then it has plates that fit down here to keep the pulp from coming out and i have made several modifications to the machine Adding rubber out here to protect the bearings and O rings and it has a cap that fits over the top to reduce the amount of pulp that gets away but, theres always going to be some pulp that manages to escape Then there’s also the physics of these beaters. The mid feather is shorter distance like on a track, so some of the pulp moves faster because it moves around the center Some of the pulp moves slower because it moves around the outside So this is the kind of situation you would have running for 4-5 hours you get a really good batch of pulp Longer if you were doing something that is more like currency, you’d apply the weight slower, do it over a longer period of time, and do a really slow processing Then toward the end of the beating cycle, I’m using a plastic sizing that’s added to the beater I believe this is a Hercon 70, which goes in to the pulp and we’lls et up after a couple of days in this climate or you can set it up immediately with about 160 degrees temperature This sits in there, and it’s like a glue that you put into the mix of the fibers that allows the fibers not to take on ink like a paper towel So this pulp is at the point where it’s already almost finished So then what you would do is you leave it running Find my little stick The internal sizing is basically added to the fiber to keep it from absorbing ink so you can draw a straight line with a pen or a felt tip without bleed If you didn’t have sizing it’d be water leaf, so if you had a pen it’d be like a paper towel. You would just spread out because I’m using 100% cotton it’s going to spread unless you overbeat it and you cant take this stuff and beat it until it becomes a gelatin in the 19th century they did that to make a substitute for horn When they made the paper product it would have the substitution of horn But at the same time it would have the consistency of Jell-O and have something like a 30-40% shrinkage ratio So you really had to compensate for it and hold it in place Starting with a vat of Chur water, this is basically fresh, clean, Rocky Mountain water We’re not saying it’s spring water I have a set of filters back there, and I filtered the city water, here in Englewood Englewood has it’s own treatment plant Just south of here the water rights in town are equivelent to Denver’s and the water rates are much cheaper than Denver So we have unlimited supply of water for a while Taking this vat, there’s probably about 4 gallons of water in this vat Each one of these buckets contains one pound of dry fiber Beaten in to five gallons of water, which is just stock solution. To take care of stock solution, what happens is we’re using three pans to charge the vat and then we’ll add a pan for the overall sheet Let me get the molds. and then you will theoretically stir this in to the vat The european method was basically stirring it with your hands’ This method of using a comb or a rake is a Japanese technique that I’ve adopted It just seems quicker, more efficient, and has a tendency to stir things a lot easier The technique here is that you have a paper mold, which is a wire screen mounted on a wood frame, with wood ribs for support. This is a later mold with a coarse wire screen underneath the wire screen, just to give it more support, give you a more even sheet Otherwise you’d have rib marks at these points The wove mould was first introduced in 1756 by Wattman, and used to build Baskerville type because Baskerville has these long serifs and he wanted perfect type. Prior to that point they used a lade screen which had chain lines, and everything was wrapped around the chain line, and it created these lines going down the paper Which is aesthetically more pleasing So the technique here is, you have a paper mould, you have a deckle. The deckle works as a dam, holding the water on the screen, forcing it to drain through the wire and out the bottom So you form the sheet You do a dip, pull it up, do a double shake each direction, and the last shake is a down shake to set the sheet and then you would let it drain a little bit This solution is a little thin right now When you go to do a stack of felts, the first three are the hardest to get off because you don’t have the cushion of the sheet underneath that Lift the deckle off. If you pull the the deckle over and you get water drop, it’s called a vatmans tears. I’m theoretically at this point the vatman and when your looking at old sheets of paper, you’ll see these water drips, usually it’s a drip off the hand There are ways to take the mould off, this one’s a fairly thin one. Chances of this one coming off are very very thin but, we pulled it off and then out of nowhere there’s always black things that just seem to fall out of the sky so you can pick those out of the paper and I’ve added the next charge of the vat, so I stir that charge in, still feels a little thin to me T-shirts have a tendency to make a really soft paper. If you taking a paper, the harder the rag, the newer the rag, then better quality paper you get In the beating process, your looking at taking a rag, and a new rag would give you a really hard fiber because it has never been wet before and when you beat it, what happens is it becomes wet for the first time and then dries and shrinks for the first time so, you get a little more shrinkage, a little more hardness out of those first rags When your doing an old used rag, the softer the rag, the softer your paper. Because the fiber is actually worn. Some people propose using lint out of a dryer Which is broken fiber to begin with, has no fiber length, and really it’s recycling toilet paper you just get a lower grade of toilet paper So theoretically, the higher we get in the stack, the less pressure I have to use to transfer the sheet You’ve beaten the fiber, you’re trying to beat it to elongate it, drag it out, so when you put it in the hollander, the slower the more carfully you beat it The longer the fiber, so you can turn a new rag, which new rag is a termonology used for cuttings from a fabric company Somebody is making shirts, the cuttings, you’d get bags and bags of cuttings and that would be a new rag it actually never was processed, other than to be fabric once, and then it became un-fabric When you’re hanging out with a bunch of weavers, your the haritic of the group, because all you want to do is un-do everything they’ve ever done Your looking a that new rag, you’re trying to elongate it, so if you beat it very carefully and very slowly over a long period of time, you can make something equivalent to currency or layout paper If you were to take the beater and drop the roll on the beater fairly quickly, you can make blotting paper or paper towel, something really absorbant so, it’s how you operate the beating process now, historically, in Europe they use stampers The stampers were designed just basically to pound the fiber in a troth of water and just up and down motion of pounding it What you’ve seen so far in the video is that I’m using a Hollander beater which was invented 1650 to run in Holland and Holland didn’t have waterfalls, which the rest of Europe had to power the stampers When you go back to Japan, or earlier in China, they actually had soemthing that looked like baseball bat and they just kept wailing on this stuff with a baseball bat some places developed large wooden hammers, and they would sit there with their mallets and just wail away on it But the Europeans figured out they have water power for their mills and they could set up a set of stampers and just pound this and the first set of stampers would have chisel point, then the next one would have three smaller chisel points and the last stamper would have a flathead. So you’d have your coarse, medium and fine grind, and you’d just be wailing away on those stampers The paper mills were required to be on the outskirts of town because they had a tendency to run 24 hours a day and drive earthworms totally nuts from the vibrations and the thumping That was the paper they would use in the renaissance, they also sized the paper in the renaissance using gelatin So the process was, you’d form the sheets, you’d press the sheets, and then you’d hang the sheets to dry and then after they were dried, you would put them in a bunch and dip them in gelatin sizing and let them absorb gelatin You took them out, put them back in the press, re-pressed it to get the gelatin out, and you caught all the excess gelatin So the next time you sized you can do that Then you re-hung the paper to dry Now paper has this affinity for moisture, it being cotton, cotton has an affinity for moisture and the process then was the paper would breathe and exhale moisture and when it breathed it would the gelatin in, and when it exhaled it would move a little bit, and it kept pulling the sizing into the paper to harden the paper During the renaissance, they used a harder size because the fashion of the day was parchment and they were trying to emulate parchment. At the turn of the century in 1500, they got away from the parchment sizing, the heavy sizing that the scribes would use for parchment It became more fashionable to create a softer quality paper for letter press printing and for engravings So the paper got a little bit softer, so the quality of the paper dropped slightly. Then other advantages came along, there was a quick printer of the day in Germany that printed all the scientific tasks like bacon The english found this guy, and he was the quick printer of the day So they went and had all their scientific books printed by this guy, A friend of mine I have determined, Peter Thomas who will be doing the presentation, is that what they were doing is They were putting gelatin in the vat, to gelatin size the paper when they made it and when you put the gelatin sizing on it, to harden the gelatin sizing so it just didn’t when paper got wet It just didn’t disappear where you were using either formaldehyde or oleum Oleum is a neutral, until it goes in to water and then it becomes an acid So your introducing a little time bomb in to your paper. Your introducing the acid factor Most of the mills at the time were using hard water Limestone based water that was coming out of caves Wookey Hole in England is a limestone cave with the River Styx flowing out of it, which I think is really cool and they had a paper mill they started in the 1600’s France, they were all high up in the mountains. All pure water. In Spain, there’s a valley in Coppoladis, which is just outside of Barcelona ,and every paper mill in this valley is just located downstream from the next paper mill up and it was hard limestone water. So you have the lime in the water, which is preventing this from taking on the sulfer dioxide in the air, which when mixed with water becomes sulfuric acid. Which is why marble deteriorates outside, the front of buildings are melting. But, if you have a buffer in the paper from a natural limestone base, that helps. To process the rags for stampers, stampers require a softer rag. So what you’d do, is you take the rag and you would wet them and roll them into balls, and let them sit in the bottom of the mill and rot. And the rotting cooked the interior part of the ball. You had to strip off the outside layers which were discolored and you could only use the white interior layers at that time. The problem with the paper mill at the time is, one or two things could happen to it. One is a flood which would take it out, the other is a fire, and the fire usually occurred from the rags self combusting. If you’re not working fast enough and keeping up with the rags they suddenly have a tendency to burst into flames. Later they came up with an idea to process the rags a little faster, they used lime, slate the rags down with lime. So the basement of your mill, you would have four corners. And you’d start with pile number one, pile number two and three and four. So when pile one got ready, that would go upstairs to the stampers to be stamped. Pile two got moved to pile one corner three to two, and four to three. And they would slate it down and turn to pile and start a new pile in corner four. So there was this rotation, you knew which pile was about to burst into flames. So they used lime, later they came up with a big boiler system where they would boil the rags with lime to make them easier to beat. So it was the cooking process very similar to what they were doing in Japan where you strip that white bark, use the bark and the pip to fuel the fire to cook them and then you use a hard ash from another source to put in the pot to make a cooking solution to reduce your fiber length to make it easier easier to beat. The other thing about cotton is it’s 98% pure cellulose. And that’s what you’re going for when you’re making a sheet of paper. I think it was Joshua Herschel, invented chlorine bleach in 1780’s. The process then was, no one figured out that you had to remove bleach. You just bleached it, it was white and you could make white paper. John Murray and his text on paper making in 1824, stated that they needed to figure this out because there were people that had, printed a bible, the bible lasted five years before it turned to powder and just disappeared, because the chlorine bleach would then be activated again every time the book was introduced to humid situations and the moisture moved through the book again. So the paper would be breathing and chlorine would take it apart. And when you’re looking at the book at that point, the book is all handset type. Handprinted. So there’s a lot of work to only last five years. Sometimes you need to fill holes. And you have a chunk of something that’s non-describable. Sometimes they move a little. So that was the further deterioration of the quality of paper. The invention of the cotton gin and using cotton was another deterioration in the quality of paper. Basically because linen has barbs all the way around the fiber. And has more points that intersect and you have more hydrogen bondings taking place and more ion bondings taking place. And that’s why all the ledger papers in the late 1800’s were basically linen ledger papers. So you could write on them with a pen and then if you had made a mistake and you’re adding and subtracting you could take out your pen and knife and just scratch off the number and write a new number in. It was really good paper and that’s still why U.S currency is made with linen and they add cotton to it, I think the format, if I remember, is 25% linen, 75% cotton. Cotton is used to make it opaque. The linen makes a really thin, translucent paper. So then, in the 1820’s, there were a lot of experiments using other sources of fiber to make paper The British started sending their coal down to their fleet in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean at this point, were using a lot of coal from New Castle. So they needed something for cargo to send back and they started sending back esparto which is a grass from North Africa, and filling the holes with esparto. So the British started making esparto paper in the 40’s and the 50’s. The problem was that there was a lot of stuff in the esparto grass that wasn’t cellulose because you have a stronger cell structure, so all the hard stuff had to be released from the fiber. Which caused pollution in the rivers. The mill I visited in Spain in the 80’s was still pumping their black liquor into the river. They had this little black stream coming from the mill going to the river. Traditionally after you finished the stack of paper you would put it into a press and press it. You can dry it directly on the paper mold, if you have a really soft sheet of paper. Once again, you’re looking at those hairs, those hairs stand up and snag and catch and bond. So the next step would be putting them under pressure. Closing them like staples. So that when they harden they’re really hard. Traditionally the presses were just boards with a long bar on it and they’d hang weights on the end of it which would create pressure on the thing and press them lightly. Then they’d pick up the pieces and brush them on the walls like the would in India. Dry them on the wall so you’d have that stucco appearance. And then they’d take and egg it and furnish the whole sheet. Which is, a lot of work. In Europe they came up with this process of making these huge presses out of tree trunks and they just shaved off the part of the tree trunk they needed square and left the rest of the tree to make it a lot easier. Then they went to screw presses, so you have this incline plane which, the larger your screw the heavier the pressure. So you could get up to like, 20 tons of pressure using a screw like that. 1800 again, they invented hydraulic presses, so you could develop water pressure with pumps before they became hydraulic fluid pumps. So what I’m going to use today is this little 100 ton hydraulic press, with 30 x 40 platelets. Which, isn’t the easiest thing to open. So, the next step would be to put your paper in the press, so I have this stack of paper we’ll put it in the press and press it. And to fudge up with the rest of the paper in the press… Actually what I need is not to pump the press all the way to the bottom. So I’m putting a little filler in right now. And then I have these safety blocks. Which you would pull out, and then close the press, the thing I found is that these chain pulls, they have a tendency to lock in place, so you don’t have a lot of slippage. That didn’t work very well. So then, basically you make sure the pumps engaged, pump it up and then… is there another bucket laying around someplace? An empty one? You need the bucket for the catch, for the water. And then you simply pump the press up. And then eventually the water will drain out and into the bucket. So, in a traditional mill what would happen is the press would close, you would leave the paper in the press overnight, and then in the morning they’d come back open the press, and then they’d have someone hanging the sheets to dry. Cleaning the felts, and the process would start over again. So, the next step then, after the pressing is basically taking the felts apart. Looking at your paper. And deciding how you’re going to dry it. One way to dry it, this is a sheet we just made, pick it up, lay it, and then remove the next felt and these are down to, probably, 80% water right now. So they’re a little tricky to move, they will stretch a little, being plastic. I’ve got a wrinkle already. Let me get that out Get a board, flatten it. Because once you don’t flatten it, what happens is it’s just amplified higher and higher up into the stack. Want to press each one directly on top of the others. And you would dry them then, according to the literature in the books, they would be stacks of ten sheets that were lightly pressed together and then hung to dry. But that only works if you have a traditional mill in the river valley. Here in Colorado, you have to stack more sheets. I’ve seen them stack single sheets in Montreal, and they’re supposedly between two rivers that look more like between two great lakes. And the paper would take days to dry, where if you did that here you would take a matter of hours, in this 10% humidity. The traditional mill, the top floor would have windows with shutters on them, and they’d use horse hair ropes so it wouldn’t stain the paper like a vegetable rope would. And then they could open and close the shutters depending on what the temperature, the humidity was that day. The amount of air circulation, how big the wind was. They would dry them over a period of time, fairly slowly. The one mill I talked to in France, they only made linen paper during the winter because during the summer it dried too fast. So they made cotton paper mostly during the summer months. They had a newer technology instead of just the overshot wheel on the side of the building. They had basically a turbine running under the building, so they’d pipe the stream through the bottom of the building, powering a turbine. So, we’d have this set of sheets, we theoretically have enough sheets there. And…. I lost the board… Let’s see if I can get this board out of here… And this set would be enough, just to press it just like this, to get it to stick and to dry. It’s kind of like watercolor paper, where you’re doing painting on each side of a board and you’re stretching it so the board is pulling evenly against each other. So that’s what you’re doing with this paper you’re pressing one sheet to the next sheet. The other thing thats happened with the press, I forgot to mention that when we’re pressing them onto felts, this is a woolen felt, so it has that hair that reaches up and breaks the surface tension when you’re pressing the mold onto it. Other wise you’ve got that suface tension you saw that when I picked up the sheet on the mold, it would stay there, and I rotated it off. So since the hair the hair on these woolen felts thats breaking that surface tension and transferring it to the felt, but during the process here, when we press it, we’ve collapsed all those surface hairs so these sheets will not stick together. They will not laminate. If we were to make the sheet, put a sheet directly onto of another one, we could make a two ply paper, and then a three ply, and a four ply paper, and we could make cardboard. Or matte board this way, just building up sheets. But once we’ve pressed it, that won’t work. Also, if we just stood on top of this with a board on top of it using our body weight, we get about three pounds per square inch, then we could brush it onto a wall and it would stick to the wall and dry on the wall. Or dry it on a sheet of masonite and we could dry it that way. So we could eliminate the press, we’d just get a little softer paper. So this then will go onto a screen and dry let me get a screen, just a sec… So then this would go onto this screen and dry. And then that would slide back into the drying rack, and we’ll have air dried paper. Last week I had an order for 400 business cards, these were done 24 up at a time. These were pressed in piles of 12. So they’re really hard, and you just kind of bend them back and forth and separate them. So they just start separating like this, and you have these individual, air dried cards. So that’s what air drying looks like. You have this nice bumpy surface, some of that is from the air. But since we dried them into little stacks like this they dried relatively flat. Now if you wanted to get them absolutely flat, what we have over here is a drying press and this drying press is set up to work with a squirrel cage blower And this is set up with linters or blotters in between sheets of cardboard. Those are then dealing with this blower The squirrel cage pressurizes the box, the box has an opening on this press side. The pressurized air then escapes by going through the corrugation and coming out this side of the press. So on this should be the first sheets, so when you dry them this way they’ll dry flatter and you’ll have less surface texture than you will if you air dried. Now one other thing you can do, you can dry those on a plate that has the texture Such as this grid and this would be the grid texture from air drying on that grid. So those are the ways to dry it. So after the little tour you’ve had of the shop today you can see that what I’ve looked at is I’ve read probably five to six hundred volumes of books and various other texts. I’ve investigated historical sites, one of my favorite was the bibliotheque in Belgium, they let us into the basement and handed us these 14th and 13th century books, and allowed us to actually put our hands on the pages which is what paper makers really want to do they want to feel that paper, and that was the period when paper was the best period. The paper at that point was made heavily sized to the fashion of the day, which was the gelatin sized paper. When you’re making paper you want to look at historical examples. This one is 1409, I picked that one up in Paris. This one is 1430, it’s a little finer, it has a nice rattle to it. This one has a different type of rattle to it, it’s denser, a little heavier. And these were not made for letter press printing, these were made for calligraphers. This one is 1434, this shows you what the calligraphy would have looked like in the day. And it also has that nice rattle to it and that’s what the sound of paper should have. It should have that rattle, that stiffness. Even after a mere 500 years. It should still sound like that. It should still have that feel, that texture. That smoothness to it. So that, is what I’m aiming for, even in my sculptural pieces the pieces are cast, they’re designed to be hard, resilient and sometimes if you move them wrong they remove skin, if you get too close to them when they’re moving they will remove skin. They’re that tough. It’s the strength of the material, it’s what you’re looking at. It’s the historical purpose of people being able to make paper mâché houses in England, put them on a steam ship, ship them to Australia and build a village out of them, and have that kind of strength. The strength of those locomotives wheels, just wheat paste and paper, and lasting 300,000 miles. Or being able to build a paper boat and put a steam engine in it and sail it from New England down to Miami and sell it. It’s that kind of strength that you’re looking for in the paper. Or based on the Japanese culture, which is stone, paper and wood. Everything that isn’t stone or paper or wood, there’s a little bit of metal involved but most of the houses, it’s a stone foundation, something to set the wood on, and then to fill the wood with paper. If you just look at life, what it would be like without paper?