Le Moulin à Papier: Part III

Continued from Part II


The Dutch pile has been filled with the previously smashed paste inside the millstone grinder.

Dutch pile produces a very thick past that must be diluted in a tank. The resulting product will be 1 – 3 percent paste concentrate and 97 – 99 percent paste solution. A sieve is used to separate the fibres. A sieve is used to separate the fibres from the water. Each sieve is crafted by professionals and are imported from England. The tightened brass wires keep them parallel to each other with thick embossed seams.  The sieve consists of a thin plain metal canvas to create a vellum paper. The paper-maker attaches a wire to the canvas. The wire’s pattern gives the pieces of information on the paper’s size and who created it ( eagle, bell…). The removable frame cover fits the sieve and gives the paper shape and thickness. There are frames to form special papers, envelopes and other shapes.  The marks are called watermarks.

Sheets drying on the ropes
Sheets drying on the ropes

With the paste diluted, the fibres are mixed with a stick then the sieve is quickly plunged into the tank. As the water begins to drain off the sheet of paper is formed. The sheet is laid on a piece of woollen felt. One hundred sheets is called a ‘porse’. The more the past is diluted the thinner the page will be. Increase the paste for thickness.

When the sheets are piled without the felt it creates cardboard.

Drying: The sheets are lifted with a wooden stick and hung on ropes. The thicker the sheet of paper the longer the drying time. The other factor is the weather. It can vary from a few hours in the summer to several days in the winter. The sheets are lifted with a stick and brushed onto plain warm boards or on brick walls warmed by the fire in Japan. In

Drying garments, pages and other creative projects
Drying garments, pages and other creative projects

Brousses inspiration is taken from the Japanese method. The paper is laid on a synthetic material and then compressed and hung on the dryer. When the drying is complete, the pages are unstuck. The paper is flatter and smoother. If a coarse-grained paper is desired the sheet is layed on a coarser grained felt.

Once the paper has dried it has the consistency of blotting paper and must be waterproofed. The gluing is a process of applying a coating of gelatine. However, the process has changed and currently the gelatine is added to the paper-paste.

Smoothing: Pages require smoothing once they come out of the dryer. They are not smooth or flat. Today they are compressed within a few hours on the hydraulic compressor.

Coloured paper: A coloured paper is made from cotton cloths. White paper is made with lightened cellulose. Brown pages are created from plants or animal dung.

One of the dresses worn at the Paper Lovers Night!
One of the dresses worn at the Paper Lovers Night!

Large sheets: The special sheets, 3.4 meters long by 2.2 meters wide were specially crafted here at Brousses. Six to eight people are required to handle the special sieve. There is also a special tank that is assembled for when it is required.

The dresses were created by the visual artist, Catherine Cappeau, and worn every 14th August for a special musical event, Paper Lovers’ Night or in French Nuit des Papyvores.



All in a stunning setting! Make a day of it.
All in a stunning setting! Make a day of it.

4 thoughts on “Le Moulin à Papier: Part III

  1. Hi Lea,

    Your paper mill posts are fascinating and informative. The conclusion I have drawn is that I take paper too much for granted! As I think I do many other things if I stop long enough to think about it.




    1. Hi Christine,

      Most of us take paper for granted, I believe. And where would we be without it? It was a fascinating day and the setting was stunning. I hope you saw the other post, Part II. More than one blogger said it wasn’t in their reader and I couldn’t find it there myself. Add this to the list of issues I am having with WP! 🙂




  2. Yes I saw the other one. I decided to leave one comment for both of them so at the moment WP is behaving for me – maybe I shouldnt have said that!!! 🙂

    I have just read your lovely poem too! Im meandering over to your other blog to leave a comment right now! I have my coffee beside me so all is well! 🙂



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