Notes on Khadi handmade cotton rag papers

Craftsmanship at its best

Making Imperial Size sheets of Khadi handmade paper
Imperial Size sheets of Khadi paper in the making ~ [126380]

These papers have an excellent environmental heritage. The company is situated in the cotton growing region of southern India. Cotton is picked, woven and then made into T shirts, pyjamas, and everything else, in nearby factories. The cutting rooms of those factories have always got scraps of brand new cotton offcuts left over from the cutting rooms. These are bundled into bales and further chopped and mashed to make the raw material ~ long staple fibres for the best quality paper ~ known as cotton rag. This is formed into paper ~ pressed between cloths ~ then hung up on lines to air dry.

Because the cotton fibres are still close to their virgin state and need no chemical treatment the resulting paper is free from pollutants, although some gelatin or similar equivalent ~ size ~ is added to the mix in order not to end up with blotting-paper.

I am happy to attach some illustrated clips from a newsletter, received in 2020, as India began to recover from the worst of its country-wide lock-down caused by Covid-19. The text of the newsletter also follows ~

Hanging Khadi papers to dry ~ indoors
Hanging Khadi papers to dry ~ indoors

Khadi papers drying outdoors ~ under cover
Khadi papers drying ~ under cover outdoors

Khadi papermakers at a celebration picnic
Khadi staff enjoying a celebration picnic at Bijapur ~
taken very early in 2020

Khadi newsletter from the Summer of 2020...

“2020 starts full of hope. We celebrate the new decade with a trip to Bijapur. Subbu hires a bus and everyone from Khadi Papers Indiacomes along ... 65 people, some of the best papermakers in the world … and they all bring with them home cooked North Karnataka dishes packed in stainless steel lunch boxes ~ flasks of tea flavoured with cardamom ~ and Dharwardi sweets. Such a great beginning.

And then ...two months later and the world is locked down by coronavirus.

“Throughout lockdown the entire workforce at Khadi Papers continued to receive full pay even though there is no furlough system there ~ too huge an undertaking for a country of 1.3 billion. Luckily the Hubballi area was not too badly affected and after twelve weeks some papermakers were able to come back. Now everyone is back at work, maintaining a safe distance and making beautiful paper once again.”


Those interested in finding out more about handmade papers may care to read further notes ~

~ Paper making ~ [113003]

~ Deckle Edge ~ [124105]

~ Possible worries with handmade papers ~ [124109]

~ Cobble cut explained ~ [121970]


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Last updated 2020~0814