Last week I got all ambitious and decided to have a go at making paper from blackberry vines. This has been the big cool idea lurking in the background ever since I decided to go down the small business road, and I have to say, I was pretty excited.
I already had the two pounds of dead, desiccated vines – I gathered them in January, when nothing else had leaves, and I could see what I was doing. I also had a huge pot to cook them in, thanks to Mom and her passion for canning.
Just to clarify – the cooking is supposed to soften up the fiber, and help get rid of all the sugars and proteins and things that could make the finished paper sticky, or stinky, or yellow, or generally gross. Adding soda ash to the mix speeds this up.
Or it’s supposed to …
After nine (nine!) hours on the stove, the stubborn blackberry vines had not softened, or gotten floppy, or fallen apart. All they did was turn black.
I’ll be trying this again soon, with green vines, hoping that they won’t be quite so difficult to work with. But I gotta say – I was pretty discouraged.