Day 3 Sunday:
Beating the Cooked Fibres
The strength and beauty of this paper is based on the length of the kozo fibres. Instead of putting them in a Hollander beater or blender which would cut them, they are separated by being hand beaten with wooden sticks and mallets on a wooden or granite block.
|The corners of this squared beating stick are used to beat the fibres and separate them.|
|A clump of fibre about a pint in volume was beaten at a time. Using this stick we beat back and forth across it until it was flattened out.
||The mallets have cross cut patterns cut into them to force the fibres apart. Traditional Japanese mallets have a starburst pattern to achieve the same goal.|
|We used a circular pattern of beating with the mallets to further separate the fibres. Using both the stick and mallets, each pint sized clump of fibre was beaten for about 30 to 45 minutes until it began to resemble bread dough.
To test the fibre a small tuft is dropped into a jar of water. In the first picture you can see the fibres feathering out. The jar is shaken slightly to disperse the fibres and if they spread evenly in the water, they are ready for paper making.