Lokta ~ Daphne fibres ~ handmade paper
Lokta paper is made from the pulp from the bark of laurel bushes (species Daphne) that grow in the uplands of Nepal. Unlike most European pulps, which require the felling of the tree, the laurel bushes that grow at altitude ~ above 5000ft ~ in the Himalayas are able to regrow the bark that is periodically stripped from them to make this paper, providing a renewable source of fibre.
These papers are dried naturally by sun and wind, in the open air, whilst remaining in their deckle. Paper-making provides a source of income for those living in a region where employment opportunities are sparse. It is recognized as a Non Wood Forest Product (NWFP), that may be harvested from nature reserves without damage to the prevailing eco-system.
It is strong and durable ~ resistant to rot and insects ~ and well suited for use in a variety of handcrafts. It has been used as the main source of documentary paper in Nepal for centuries. Some varieties will work in modern printers, but you do need to experiment with all types of use before buying in quantity. There are many differences ~ feel ~ weight ~ strength ~ purity. We say 'purity' to warn newcomers that tiny fibres of bark and other 'imperfections' need to be expected. Some of our papers have been slightly calendered so that one side is smooth. 'Slightly' means that the finish does not compare with that of everyday office papers. Lokta paper 'feels' different from office paper. It is more like cloth in some ways. The gsm figure is about half that of office paper ~ but it is so different that is not a sensible comparison to make.