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 paste 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 fibers. A sieve is used to separate the fibers from the water. Each sieve is crafted by professionals and is 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 fibers 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 woolen felt. One hundred sheets are 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 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 laid 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.

Colored paper: A colored paper is made from cotton cloths. A 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. Jennie, thank you. I found it a fascinating place. It should come as no surprise that it is near La Ville des Livres (Montolieu). Another one of my favorite places to go and lose myself in the many bookshops…

  2. A perfect escape back in time on a Sunday morning, Leá. To be able to find such history and beauty in one place puts me in a very soothing and reflective mood 🙂 I admire people whose work is more than just work, it is art and they do their best to create something with it ~ and your series here teaches us this art. Wonderful post.

  3. How kind. It captured my attention and I hoped that others would enjoy it as well. It seems that a few have… You create with your camera, your pen, and a very keen eye. I always look forward to your posts. Thank you again, Randall. Lea

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