Belle and I wanted to use hand made Dai paper for our Puer packaging.
There is one small, quiet village in Menghun county, Xishuangbanna, which still specializes in the traditional cottage industry of hand making paper.
Stirring stick & vats for paper making
The raw material is bark from the mulberry tree, which is soaked in water to make it soft, then boiled & blended into pulp.
Bales of mulberry bark waiting to be pulped
The pulp is dissolved into a tank of water, which needs to be stirred vigorously, until the paper particles become suspended.
Agitating the pulp & water mix
Wire mesh, held in a bamboo frame, is lowered into the solution, and gently lifted out. A thin layer of paper fibers accumulates on the filter, as the water drains through.
The paper frame is put out to dry in the sun. So simple! And friendly to the environment! Unfortunately, only the old folks make paper these days. Their kids are all working in the factories of Menghai and Jinghong. Will there be another generation of traditional Dai paper makers?
Paper drying under the sun
Happy paper makers!