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Paper Sample from 1983

Winter 2010
Winter 2010
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Timothy Barrett is the author of two books, six videotapes, and 25 articles on the history, technique, and aesthetics of hand papermaking. His research on early European handmade papers has been funded by the NEA, the Kress Foundation, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, and, as of 2009, a MacArthur Fellowship. He joined the University of Iowa Center for the Book as Paper Specialist in 1986 and served as director of the Center between 1996 and 2002.  This paper was one of my early attempts at making a Western-style book paper using an approach similar to traditional Japanese papermaking. I started with high-quality raw fiber that had not been bleached or chemically treated and processed it by hand in-house. Both fibers were allowed to ferment a bit (5 to 6 days in water) and then cooked in a 0.5% calcium hydroxide solution for 5 hours; 6% fiber ‘on solution' (60 grams of dry fiber in each liter of cooking solution).

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The muslin was beaten in a Valley beater in 300-gram loads for about 50 minutes; the unbleached linen, about 30 minutes. The finished sheets were loft-dried in spurs, but then flattened, as I recall, by humidifying and then pressing between dry felts. Despite all the fuss and bother the results were, and still are, disappointing to me. The color is a dull gray. The formation quality (very difficult to see in these tiny samples) was only fair to good; there are occasional white knots or strands, possibly from a small amount of synthetic fibers in the warp or weft threads in the linen. And there is still inner cockling/creasing in some sheets because I was not able to get the flattening accomplished successfully. Still it was a stepping-stone in my efforts to gradually develop a range of Western papers at Kalamazoo Handmade Papers, and after 1986, at the UI Center for the Book. I have since switched to new textile-quality hemp, cotton, and flax fiber when making book papers. They have usually allowed us to get good formation quality; a pleasing, warm, off-white color; and an agreeable eggshell or slightly more textured surface in the finished sheet. Kalamazoo Handmade Papers B3 Book Paper 60% unbleached new muslin textile cuttings; 40% unbleached linen rag (old fabric from a gallery wall installation); original sheet size: 18 x 24 inches. Paper Sample from 1983 timothy barrett