Sunday, August 3, 2014

Handmade Paper utilizing Wasps' Nests

I love making paper.  My original recipe was a simple one from a recycling newspaper, aimed at children - which suited me perfectly.  I have changed the methods over the years, but what remains the most fun is deciding what goes into the pulp.  Any scrap paper, even the ones with glossy finishes (which we are told not to use), all kinds of plant material, especially flowers that keep their colour - and now, wasps' nests!

A few weeks ago, a customer at the 100 Mile Farmers' Market was telling me about her homeschooling experiences, one of which was making paper from wasps nests.  Somehow, I had never heard of this.  As last year was the Summer of the Wasp, our barn was full of nests.  And as I began telling everyone who would listen,  wasps' nests (empty ones) are being donated to me.

Lucy is very curious

All kinds of bugs, unidentifiable things, black dots (eggs?) reside inside these wasps' nests.  I peeled off the outside, which feels not surprisingly, exactly like paper, and threw it into the pulp.  The resulting paper doesn't look particularly different, but it feels very different.  The only adjective I can think of is substantial.  

Thanks to the Internet, I have begun learning a lot about wasps.
I enjoyed this link, though not sure that I will ever think of a wasp as a possible pet.



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