Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fibershed Camp Papermaking Workshop

This week I was so happy and excited to teach a workshop for the Fibershed Camp! My workshop was the last day of their camp - before I came, they had been dying, felting, weaving, and generally learning the basics of how to grow and/or raise their own fiber, as well as the understanding of issues of locality and sustainability in relationship to the clothing industry.

And on the last day, they got to learn how, after their clothes wear out, they can be re-purposed into paper!

I wanted to give the kids the idea of how something like jeans become paper, so we began with the kids having a chance to cut up some jeans. I was a little nervous that the kids would instantly become bored with such a beginning, however this group was blessed with good attitudes. Other than the issue of lacking any left-handed scissors for one child, they all seemed excited to chop up some jeans.

However, I ddin't want to lose time beating (and moving my beater is a whole other issue), so, as Rhiannon likes to say, we did it cooking show style. As they were cutting, I explained how this fiber would need to be soaked and beaten, and then voila! brought out the pulp I had prepared in advance.

Once I pulled out the pulp, the kids couldn't get their hands out of the bucket. We almost had to physically pull them away so they could learn to actually make the paper.

But once we got started....

...things just took off! Some of the tables were a little tall for the kids, so some took to standing on chairs to reach the pulp.

Below, Rebecca and a camper pull sheets.

Finally, the paper was pressed and transferred to paper towels for the kids to take home.

My workshop was in the morning; my afternoon was just spend hanging out at the farm and getting to know the kids a little bit.

The garden has certainly grown since my last visit!

The coreopsis was blooming while I was there.

After lunch, I went with Julie, the kids, the dogs, and the goats on a short little hike to see the waterfall on her property.

Spending time on Julie's farm makes me dream of moving to rural Marin, planting flax and starting a full-on papermill. Heck, Lagunitas Creek was once known as Papermill Creek, so there's evidence of a precedent. If only....

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