Many of us who have a stationery fetish cannot resist handmade paper, but few realize that what is often passed off as “handmade” these days is not really so. Hence, The Bombay Paperie – to conserve the traditional technique of handmade paper making and to spread awareness about its merits.
Handmade paper making was an art India acquired from the Moghuls around the 15th century and lost somewhere down the years when it became more economical to mass produce paper by machines. Till about as late as the 19th century, traditional “kagzis” or the papermakers in India used jute fibers to create paper, but not raw jute. Discarded gunny bags, timeworn ropes and fishing nets formed the base jute and after being soaked and beaten by hand for days, the recycled jute would be transformed into sheets of paper.
The beginning of the 20th century saw cotton fibers replace jute but the cotton used still remained secondhand, keeping the ideology of recycling intact. With advances in technology, handmade papermaking was replaced by pseudo handmade paper making which uses fresh cotton fibers on a mechanical mould to create paper. This paper does have the right texture, but is neither handmade nor recycled.
Mrs. Neeta Premchand, of the Premchand Group, came across traditional “kagzis” in Daulatabad district of Auragabad (Maharashtra) and wanted to conserve this dying art. And that is how the The Bombay Paperie was launched in 2001.
Today, the team works closely with the “kagzis” of Daulatabad, restoring mills and generating genuine handmade paper which is sold at their only outlet in Mumbai at Samachar Marg, Fort. Not just the paper, but the printing blocks and inks used on these paper products are also 100% handmade and ecofriendly.
Sangita Wadhwani, Assistant Commercial Officer, who has been with The Bombay Paperie for over 2 years now says passionately, “Not only does this help in preserving one of our dying traditional arts but also helps in conserving the environment as we process only used cotton for papermaking through ecofriendly processes and ingredients.” She adds, “You can find everything from paper sheets, notebooks, greeting cards and even paper flowers at our store. But the most popular items are the lampshades, paper blinds and wall hangings which can be custom made on order.”
The Bombay Paperie not only sells handmade paper products, but they also conduct workshops on every Saturday at their store where kids and adults alike can learn how to craft paper into to stationery and decorative items. This Saturday, Sangita is conducting a workshop on making paper flowers at the store. So if you curious, drop in and let us know how the experience was!
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