Lokta Paper

Handmade paper from Nepal

All papers are made from the fibres of plants. Lokta is made from fibres obtained from the bark of laurel bushes of the Daphne family. These types of bush only grow in cool altitudes above 5000ft (1500m). The fibres used are obtained by stripping the bark, crushing, boiling and beating it. This does no long term harm to the bushes. A bush regrows its bark over a period of half a dozen years, after which it can be re-harvested. All this is too labour-intensive and geographically dispersed to permit large scale production. It provides a useful source of livelihood for country people with few opportunities for other work.

A sheet of lokta paper
An A4 sheet of 'natural' lokta paper

The fibres are cleaned and impurities are ~ to a greater or lesser extent ~ removed. Traditional handmade processes are then followed. A pulpy mush of fibres and water is scooped into a seive ~ the water drains away leaving a mat of fibres.This is dried ~ possibly pressed ~ and is ready for use. This brief explanation gives no indication of the expertise and skill involved in making a useful paper product [113003].

Lokta papers ~ with written sacred texts ~ have been found and have been dated to have been made about 2000 years ago. I read (probably in Wikipedia, which has a full description) that lokta paper is insect proof and rot proof. It is fairly widely available these days and might be termed an artisan product. As with all handmade papers the skills of the maker are reflected in the finished product. It is very different from the modern ~ smooth ~ white ~ identical sheets of commercial office papers.

It is widely used by craftspeople who appreciate the various qualities ~ some of which are more suitable than others. We expand on these elsewhere [122242].

Here some images from the WWW that show various aspects of making lokta paper

carrying lokta bark
Carrying lokta bark

lokta bark
Lokta bark ready for processing

Lokta papermaking

Making Nepalese Lokta Paper
Lokta paper making and natural drying

Lokta paper being removed from deckles
Removing lokta paper from the deckles

Wholesale storage of Lokta paper
Lokta paper in a warehouse

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