Indian Handmade Papers
KHADI PAPERS, Hubli, South India.
KHADI rag papers are made from 100% cotton rag. Cotton rags have longer fibres than linters which are the shorter fluffy fibres of the cotton seed, generally used in papermaking. Genuine rag papers are rare and it is the fibre length of this raw material that gives Khadi rag papers their exceptional strength and durability. The cotton rag they use comes from T-shirt cuttings, a reliable source of pure woven cotton.
Rags are pulped in a Hollander beater. Neutral pH internal size (glue) is added at this stage. Khadi rag papers are the only handmade papers in India made with neutral pH size and so they are the only ones that are genuinely acid free.
Khadi handmade papers are made sheet by sheet, not in a continuous roll. Cotton fibres in suspension in water are poured onto the paper mould. The mould is lifted from the vat and the sheet is laid or couched onto a woollen felt, another felt is placed on top and the process is repeated, they are then cold pressed, in a hydraulic press to remove excess water. Rough surfaced papers retain the impression of the woollen felt. Smooth papers are cold pressed between zinc sheets.
Papers are loft dried. After drying, sheets are tub sized (surface sized) with gelatine which produces a hard, water resistant surface. This is the traditional way of sizing paper for watercolour, allowing watercolour to be worked over the surface without penetrating the paper. The papers can be used with all painting and drawing media. For painting in oils they should be primed with gesso or acrylic primer.