Wow, Talk about March Madness. I am barly recovered from the Original Sewing Expo and the Georgia Quilt Council's Spring Conference but I had to start playing with my newest toy for recycling.
My company creates trash, we recycle the cardboard and the office paper but what am I supposed to do with the fabric scraps? I save them, they can't be trash! Last fall I started looking for a solution for reusing the scraps of fabric from my sewing projects and from the first rip on each new bolt of fabric we get in. By luck and providence I went to a paper making workshop at the High Museum of Art, I asked the teacher, Katy Dement, if I could use fabric scraps for paper, of course! ONLY I need a very expensive piece of equipment called a Hollander Beater. Thwarted by the expense I started a search for a less expensive version, I found a great Yahoo Group and an awesome artist, Mark Landers, he makes a machine called the "Critter" and he will ship this handmade work of art, which is also a Hollander Beater, all the way from New Zealand. My "critter" arrived in December, just in time for me to ignore it until NOW!
Last week the weather was warm enough to play in large quantities of water and scraps of paper and fabric. Here are some shots form my first go around. I am completely the novice paper maker who tries to ski the Alps on her first go out. I dumped the carefully weight 2 pound of multi colored fabric scraps into the machine filled it with water and waited for the magic.
What I got was 8 - 10 hours of watching my poor machine struggle, clogging up and stalling, while making a lovely bunch of goop. The goop did make some pretty gray paper but I was frustrated. My great Yahoo Group helped me through, with out telling me I started a bit big.
I emptied the machine and filled it with a lot less stuff, about 3/4 paper and then a bit of fabric scraps. I picked one color for all the scraps, Red- Pink. This time the machine munched happily away at the scraps and created a beautiful pink pulp in about 3 hours.
I am truly in love, no more clogging or stalling. Apparently overfilling the "Critter" is a bit like over filling the washing machine, nothing really gets done and you end up starting all over again. I set up a station to pull the paper and started making my second batch of hand made paper. I did a second tub of mostly white office paper, bye bye packing slips and used envelopes. Look how pretty you are when I recycle you.
You might ask, "What does she intend to do with all this recycled paper?" I think some of you will start to see upcycled thank you notes in your orders and I may start making some blank cards. Right now, I am working on making nice paper, getting a semi studio set up outside Making paper is a messy bit of work. Stay tuned for updates!