In May I had the privilege to visit Gallery Bellomo in Syracuse, Sicily to see papyrus paper being made from the fibrous inner pith of the papyrus plant. In Europe, the only place that this plant grows naturally is on the banks of the Ciane River.
Here is a photo of the plant growing in Syracuse.
The process includes removing the outer rind of the plant to reveal the inner core that is cut lengthwise into strips. The strips are soaked in water with an antioxidant. This allows the strips to maintain their lovely creamy color. The strips are then arranged side- by -side on a marble slab covered with a cloth. Each strip slightly overlaps the other.
The next strips are arranged at right angles on top of the first.
While still moist the two layers are compressed with a heavy marble roller.
The resulting sheet is allowed to dry. It can be used as writing paper or used to make art.
Here is a piece of art I purchased.
Written by Barbara James
August 14, 2016