Thursday, September 20, 2007
09.20.07 THE PAPER TREE
Paper can be made from the fibers of many different plants, but one of the best sources of fiber is the bark of the paper mulberry tree, Broussonetia papyrifera. In China, where paper was invented, paper was made from the bark of this tree by the third Century AD. Paper made from this fiber is still popular in Japan where it is called kozo. Kozo has an excellent surface, is lightweight, and very strong, perfect for printmaking. Unfortunately this tree is only very rarely used for paper making in the United States and solely by hobbyists, and it has become a nuisance tree. It is highly invasive and grows quickly and commonly throughout the South. The leaves of this tree are remarkable because, like the sassafras, they come in several different forms, oval or with one or more additional lobes.