Twenty years ago, when we helped introduce these papers to the US market, these were papers unlike anything most people had ever seen. Thick, heavily textured and with (sometimes) large inclusions randomly scattered across the sheet, most people didn’t even realize this was paper at all.
All this time later, these papers have become ubiquitous. From lampshades to a seemingly never ending number of craft projects, Thai Handmade paper has become a staple of the craft, invitation and hobby industries.
That is not to say that the papers are any less interesting and are certainly as beautiful as ever. Called Saa Paper in Thailand, these papers are produced as they were for hundreds of years - in small villages throughout northern Thailand, made of kozo fiber boiled and beaten in large vats to form pulp then made on handmade wooden screens and dried in the sun.
It’s on the screens where the fun starts - that’s where the inclusions are selected and placed, by hand, throughout the sheet. From large bougainvillea flowers to beech leaves to pieces of string or grass (and sometimes all of the above and then some), they are spread on the still wet pulp and lifted from the water on the screen.
The finished sheets can be printed, painted, dyed and embossed, and more. They are versatile enough to be used for almost any creative project you can come up with, from bookmaking to greeting cards, packaging to lampshades.