SonoranPaper's Profile

Handmade paper! I am addicted.

These cards and paper sheets are all handmade by me in Ajo, Arizona. I also do the original cover photography on the cards such as the butterflies and grasses, etc.

I decided to try to make my own paper more than 20 years ago to support my nature photography. My friend from my Army days was married to a lady who made handmade paper and she sent me a birthday card one year and not only was the card handmade but so was the envelope. So I took a trip to Alaska to investigate further and fell in love with papermaking by hand and Alaska. Hey, I'm a nature photographer so Alaska was like a kid in a candy store kind of experience for me in addition to the papermaking.

I started making paper for my own use but folks were soon asking if they could buy some so I made more. and more and you get the idea.

To make a card first I gather the fibers I want to use. In this case, I want to use recycled cotton rags (socks, shirts, blouses, etc.), hemp for strength and some sugar cane waste, just because I have access to some and it turns out, makes a great paper. Then, I have to know the correct proportion of each fiber to mix together to get the desired sheet. If there is too much cotton content then the resulting paper will be too soft and if the hemp content is too high the paper will be too hard and stiff for these purposes. Outside, I have a wooden tub about ten inches high that is partially filled with water where I float a typical papermaker's mold upside down, as this the Tibetan style of papermaking.

A measured amount of carefully mixed pulp is poured into the mold along with whatever wildflower petals or natural inclusions I may be using for that particular sheet. Once I have dispersed the fibers evenly across the 30x20 inch mold I pull the sheet and set it to dry. After drying, about 3 or 4 hours, I peel the dried paper from the mold and tear it into 8.5x11 sheets that will fit my inkjet printer.

Next, I put my photography skills to work by photographing the butterflies or flowers to use on the cover of the card. I use Photoshop to remove the background so there is nothing left except the butterfly, etc.

I will scan grasses, leaves, flower petals, etc. and use Photoshop to delete the background so that only the plant part is left visible and then make different layouts using different Photoshop layers to be run through the printer. So the resulting image is a pleasing combination of my nature photography, printed and 3-D flowers and other inclusions. I guarantee that you will love my work. If you don't, just send it back and I will refund your money, no questions asked.

Recycled cotton rags hemp sugar cane waste