Let’s play a game of True or False about cotton!
- It’s stronger when wet …
- There are over 50 different species of the cotton plant
- Cotton plants produce fruit!
- You can’t eat it (but horses can … Yum, I guess … for them).
- Cotton was the first plant to be grown on the moon.
Now for the reveal. Drumroll, please … Yes, they are all true.
Also, and most fittingly for us here at Pulp, cotton was one of the first materials to make paper. A strong but soft material, which most of us associate with getting dressed in the morning, not as a medium for painting, drawing or writing. But there is more to cotton than meets the eye.
A Chinese inventor named Ts'ai Lun (Cai Lun) invented the process nearly 2000 years ago. In those days, silk was the go-to fibre for making paper. It was a luxurious and precious resource, but not sustainable. Instead, Ts'ai experimented with making sheets to write on with macerated plant fibres and old cotton rags. Thus, cotton paper was born.
Pulp supplies Khadi cotton rag paper in sizes A4, A5, A6 and A7 - as well as an amazing 325 gsm 30sm diameter circular sheet. The khadi is 100 % recycled cotton rag (t-shirt cuttings, actually!) and made in India. Made sheet by sheet, not in a continuous roll, the cotton pulp is poured into stainless steel wire mesh draining moulds. A small amount of fibre is mixed with water and then drained using a hydraulic press. Then, the paper is treated with gelatine, which is the traditional way of ‘sizing’ paper for watercolours, which allows it to be worked over the surface without penetrating the paper. For oil and acrylics, the paper needs to be primed (FYI). Both delicate and strong it’s the perfect surface for your doddling, letter writing, watercolour painting, or illustrative inking. Sold singularly, or they also come in packs of 20.
I’ll leave you with another fun fact: the cotton wedding anniversary - the second year of marriage - signifies the strength, weave and comfort between two people: a beautiful metaphor for the bond between two people.