This can claim to be the most environmentally friendly paper there is. The roots of the daphne bushes respond to the vigorous pruning necessary to harvest their branches by providing new and abundant growth over the several years. They regrow at around a metre a year in height, and are harvested at five metres.
The paper is made from the fibrous paste which is extracted from the stems. The remainder of the bushes is used as fuel and as matting for earthen floors. The roots help prevent landslip and mudslides by binding the soil. Once the fibrous bark has been boiled for hours there is no further non-human energy used in the manufacture. The fibre paste is diluted with water and spread out by hand over deckles in the normal paper-making manner. These are then naturally dried in the sun.
The species of daphne bush only flourishes at altitudes over 1500 metres, and is a widespread cottage industry in Nepal. Lokta paper is claimed to have a lifespan of more than a thousand years, and documents have survived from around 500CE. The paper is soft, and very light in weight. The quality test of paper weight (eg 80gsm) takes on a different meaning with lokta paper. It takes dyes very well, and natural plant and mineral dyes are invariably used. An attractive version of the paper is made by sprinkling flower petals ~ rose ~ marigold ~ cornflower ~ into the paper surface during the last stage of manufacture.
The various qualities of lokta paper are recognised by craftworkers, and so it is being imported into the UK through several distributors. We stock a selection of such papers.
We have an additional separate listing for coloured lokta sheets with added silk strands.