After exploring the world of block-printing, we went to another part of the little town.  This time, we set off to find where paper is made.

It took a little bit of talking to get in, but once we did, we were given a thorough tour of the process.  Everyone was quite nice, probably because they figured we were so insane, it was better to just play along.

First: bags of recycled fabric are organized and shredded by color.  This is done by hand:

Here are some shreds:

The shredded fabric is piled up, waiting to be further shredded.

Then the piles of fabric are fed through a wood-chipper type machine, that turns the fabric into a fibrous tangle of mess.

It looks like this when it comes out of the machine:

Then this is put in very hot water and turned into pulp.  It is moved through this machine:

Coloring and other additives are put in at this phase (flower petals, glitter, etc.)

Then the watery pulp is moved into these huge vats.  This is what the pulp of blue paper looks like at this phase:

Men, working in the humid. hot room, use screens to flatten and lift the pulp into long sheets.

First, they put the screen in the water, spreading pulp on it.  Then they put a fabric screen on top, to flatten and smooth the pulp.

They are putting a screen on the screen:

With the extra screen on, they flip the board and press hard, letting extra water splash and seep out.

The process moves quickly!

Here they are pressing the pulp into paper through the screen.

They are left with individual sheets with a thin fabric screen in between them.  The paper is still very wet.

The room is filled with pairs of workers toiling on this task in the humid air.

After all the pulp is used, the paper is brought to a drying area.

There is a press to get out more water if necessary.

When it is dry, someone manually removes each protective screen from each sheet.  Paper is born!

The paper is then ironed and stacked for shipment.

There were huge reams just waiting to be sent off.

Much of this will be sold wholesale to distributors to turn it into journals and notebooks.

Viola!  Paper!