Paper made of recycled cloth is soft and warm to touch, dense and pliable. As an environmentally friendly alternative, it is also a growing industry that serves the poorer parts of the world well. Although a significant amount of water is necessary to the production processes, it dovetails perfectly with the hand block printing industry – the indigenous hand printing communities have already grasped the potential and natural economies of scale.
Unfortunately it is still more expensive than paper made from wood pulp; however, along with part-fabric and part-recycled paper, it is an affordable and attractive option for present wrapping, for letters, cards, invitations and special books, making something more of the gift.
Paper has been, for the last few generations at least, one of life’s staples – like bread. It looks, in the face of this digital age, that it might be facing extinction, but perhaps this is just about changing the way we regard it and use it. Perhaps now we don’t need paper as much for day to day living we’ll value it more highly, and when we do use it, it will be only of the best type – hand made and using recycled materials. Certainly there are increasingly lovely hand made writing papers and envelopes around, as well as special books printed on hand made paper.
Paper has a fairly limited and specialist use in interior furnishings. Tightly rolled paper, though, is very robust – the early Lloyd loom furniture was made with paper, and there are very good floor rugs that Skandium sell. These are in quite strong colours and in simple geometric designs that slot into hallways, studies and dining rooms – every room really, but these are where we’ve used them. De Le Cuonya had a lovely fabric woven with horizontal strips of paper through a jute warp, soft colours and charcoal, that we used for cushions and folded blinds, and we’ve used paper strips to make simple lattice works. Paper string comes in many colours and widths for wrapping presents and we could perhaps trial it for tied closures and lacing.