The pulp required to make handmade paper is obtained by separating the cellulose fibers extracted from cotton plants. The fiber is ground into a pulp by mechanical or chemical processes. Machines crush the fibers into liquid using a method similar to the churning of butter. This pulp is beaten and processed into sheets that are later cut into required sizes.

Raw Materials

Cotton pieces- Most of it is brought from Southern parts of India and sometimes it also sourced locally.
Digestion chemicals- It is used to extract cellulose from the biomass.
Bleaching chemicals- It is used to increase brightness of the paper.
Beater additives- It greatly reduces the beating time of the biomass. 
Sizing chemicals- It is used to provide resistance from liquid penetration. These are rosin, alum, starch, glue, sorbitol, neutral soap, formalin.

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Waste

Since it is a very eco friendly process, there is not much wastage. Used water and bio degradable pulp are the only waste products.

Tools & Technology

Checkdam- The dam is constructed on a stream bordering the site. TARAGram utilizes around 100,000 liters of fresh water per day for production. The site was designed for sustainable water management. The reservoir created retains water throughout the year and maintains an adequate flow into an open well which is the main source of water for TARAGram's operations. The water discharged from other production processes is allowed to percolate through the gully plugs provided on site to effectively close the loop.
Hollander Beater - This machine is used to produce paper pulp from cellulose containing fibers.
Masonry trough- It is used to store, mix and transport the pulp.
Lifting mould- It is used to lift the prepared sheets.
Vat- It is used to create sheets by spreading the pulp on it.
Rollers- It is used to press and remove excess water out of the pulp sheets.
Cutting machine- It is used to cut sheets into desired shapes and sizes.

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Rituals

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Process

Sorting and Cutting - The cotton rags are first sorted to remove dirty cloth pieces, synthetic fibers and non-textile material. Then they are cut into small pieces either by using the traditional sickles and knives or by electrically operated shredders. 

Beating & Pulping - After the raw material is thoroughly cleaned, it is first washed with a mild detergent and then beaten into pulp in a 'Hollander' beater. Any color or fiber to give the paper its unique texture is added at the end of the pulping. 

Lifting - After the pulp has been beaten to the required consistency, specific quantities of pulp is mixed with water in sunken vats. The paper-makers dip the mould and deckle into the vats. The mould is lifted up from the water and shaken, and a layer of evenly spread out pulp settles on it - the sheet of paper has taken its form.

Pressing - Each wet sheet is then released onto a fine muslin cloth. Once there is a bundle of wet sheets with interleaved cloth pieces, it is pressed by a hydraulic press to squeeze out a least half the water content of the wet sheets.

Drying - The sheets are then separated and left to dry naturally in the shade. After the sheets are dry, they are peeled off from the pieces of cloth and goes to the first stage of quality check for color and weight. 
Sizing- After sorting, the sheets are hand coated with a paste of starch. This prevents the paper from blotting and gives it the characteristics of permanence and a long shelf life. 

Calendaring & Cutting - To smooth out the surface of the paper, it is then calendered /plate glazed, i.e., interleaved between zinc coated sheets, the paper is passed to and fro under heavy mechanical pressure through a small power operated machine. This also adds gloss to the surface of the paper. The calendered sheets are then put through a second quality check again. Finally the paper is cut to the desired size and sent to its destination. 

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