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produce paper, by a process that has miraculously resisted mechanisation and mass-production. The result is paper with a silky straw-like quality that comes in an array of colours and textures. Similarly, in Nepal, a native Daphne species of plant called lokta has been used for centuries to make stunning paper.


Addressing a different environmental issue, cotton rag paper makes good use of bad rubbish, by using textile industry leftovers which would otherwise contribute to the Earth’s ever-increasing landfill problem. This has been successfully pursued in India, which has a massive cotton industry. Companies like The Handmade Paper Company support Indian cooperatives which produce cotton rag paper, coloured with natural dyes and even embellished


with flowers and seeds. Cotton rag paper is also made by disadvantaged communities elsewhere to good effect. For example, the Euraba Paper Company is based in rural Australia, where Indigenous artists create paper products decorated with traditional and modern Aboriginal designs.


Turning to the other sources of handcrafted paper, the Exotic Paper Company specialises in 100% recycled paper. You may have heard of their Ellie poo, Rhino Poo and Reindeer Poo papers, made respectively from Elephant, Rhino and Reindeer dung! The latter is used with ironic effect to make Christmas cards. More conventional products, derived from previously used paper pulp, include flower heads for a very pretty effect which are well suited to


special occasion uses like wedding stationary.


Sustainable Livelihoods: Across the world, there are a number of paper-making cooperatives that keep old crafts alive and provide sustainable livelihoods for thousands of families. Many of these are also Fair Trade certified, providing greater assurance that the producers will be properly compensated for their handiwork. These cooperatives not only continue ancient crafts which have been passed on for centuries (if not millennia), but they also provide a vital source of income for rural communities. Moreover, as the artisans are often women, the cooperatives represent a lifeline of independence and empowerment, reducing reliance on husbands and


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