Hi, I'm a papermaker at Artisans on Main, Montague. I'd like to share some of my experience in that creative process.
My papers are handcrafted from plant fibers gathered along the shores of Prince Edward Island, including dune grass, seaweed, corn husks, eel grass, garlic scapes, daylily, iris, and various harvested straws, including oat and wheat.
The bundles and bales must be carefully dried to avoid mold and await further processing. I'll need at least 1 lb. of dry fiber to make 40 sheets of paper. Pick up a leaf and just imagine how many dry leaves you'd need to make a pound!.
The fiber then must be weighed and then broken down through cooking in a lye bath for 2-10 hours. The rendered cellulose is then washed and beaten to a pulp. The pulp is then diluted in great vats for sheet formation. The sheets are pulled, drained, pressed under enormous weight, dried, flattened and pressed again. These freshly made sheets are then selected for my various projects.