Welcome to the ever expanding world of Papier Mache, you will see in the following pages examples of early Papier Mache and read facts about Papier Mache that not many people know and few believe are true. The aim of this site is to communicate the versatility of both the material - paper - and the techniques of decoration. Paper is a wonderful invention, which people usually take for granted. This attitude is probably the result of familiarity - Paper is so much a part of every day life that one does not stop to consider either how it is made, what it is made from or the many ways in which it is used.


Paper can be defined as a substance made from cellulose fibres extracted from rags, wood or straw and formed into thin flat sheets. Sometimes additives are included in the paper pulp, depending on its final use and the manner of its making. Most of the paper in general use today is machine made. The paper is formed when the pulp comes into contact with a rotating mesh cylinder and is then passed over a series of rollers along a moving belt - draining and drying the length of paper prior to cutting it into sheets. Hand made paper is formed on a 'mould', drained on a bed of felt and left to dry in a pile with other sheets. It is for this reason that it is important to know how the paper has been made - Handmade paper does not have a grain direction, as the fibres are evenly shaken on the 'mould'; in machine made papers the fibres settle in the direction of the moving belt. With a little basic knowledge and some experience one can soon develop an appreciation of the various qualities of paper and an understanding of the papers reaction to different treatments. For example, a sheet of hand made paper has a completely feel to a sheet of machine made paper with a very smooth 'Hot Press' finish - Two such dissimilar papers could not be used for the same project.

 

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