Akemi walks us through the steps of making a sheet of paper in this private lesson. Shot at Pace Paper in Gowanus, Brooklyn.
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Unlike the laborious process Akemi employs—one that dates back to 105 AD—the modern industrial method of making paper employs machines. Most are based on the Foudrinier Machine, invented in the early 19th century and introduced to the United States in 1827.
A modern mill is divided into several sections, roughly corresponding to the processes involved in making hand-made paper. Wood pulp is refined and mixed in water with other additives (the beater) to make a pulp slurry. The headbox of the paper machine distributes the slurry onto a moving continuous screen (the mold). Water drains from the slurry (by gravity or under vacuum). Finally, the wet paper sheet goes through presses, dries and is finally rolled into large rolls that often weigh several tons.
The difference in papermaking processes are stark, but the importance of the general craft tradition is immutable.
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