June 24, 2009

All About Chagami

What the heck am I talking about? Why is there pictures? Where are my pants? Well, read on (Though I can't say if I know the location of your pants.)

'Chagami' is taken from two Japanese words:
Cha - 茶 - tea
Kami - 紙 - paper

Story of Chagami:

I became an avid tea drinker to reduce my coffee consumption. One day I made a large pot of loose leaf tea for party guests. Soon the party was over, and when I began to clean out the dishes, I looked into my tea pot. I had enough tea leaves in the strainer to fit into two hands! Rather than throw them away, I gave the tea leaves a good rinse and put it aside. When the dishes were clean and I looked at the clump of tea leaves I salvaged. I have seen flowers and plants added in paper before, and tea leaves are definitely plants. Aha! The light bulb went off. I broke out my paper mold and began experimenting with using tea leaves in paper making. My first finished sheet of tea leaf paper had the qualities of great textured paper, plus a fantastic tea scent. I dubbed this fantastic creation Chagami.

Chagami Attributes:

Chagami is made from an assortment of recycled paper, cardstock, hanshi (rice paper), and cotton fabric scraps. Small pieces of abaca fiber--or Manila hemp--are sometimes used to add strength to Chagami. The tea leaves are all from previously brewed loose leaf tea, double soaked in boiling water, and finally rinsed to remove any impurities. pH neutralizer is added while the materials are processing so that the finished Chagami paper is acid-free. The wet sheet is hand pressed and allowed to dry naturally. For a more finished look the edges may have been trimmed.

The image below is a Chagami prototype with samples of popular writing, drawing, and painting media. I write with a heavy hand and am pleased to tell you Chagami is resistant to poking and tearing by sharp pencils points and pen nibs.

Because of the handmade nature of Chagami the size, shape, and color of paper will vary from what you see on your monitor and even between sheets from the same batch. Chagami is hand pressed and naturally dried, so slight warping may have occurred. This will not affect your writing, drawing, painting, or crafting on or with this paper. I personally assure you that all of my work is made with tender love and care, and that the paper is tested for quality.

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