Handmade Paper Sustainably Produced/ Lokta Paper from KOLPA
Posted on February 19 2019
Lokta paper is made from the bark of evergreen shrubs called Daphne papyracea and Daphne bholua, locally known as Bhulu. These shrubs are found in the hills of Himalayas at an elevation of 1,500 to 2,300 meter from the sea levels. Nepal has the perfect geography for these shrubs and is found abundantly. The plant grows to a height of 1.5 meters. Lokta plant once harvested naturally grows back into a mature plant in 4-5 years ready for the next harvest cycle.
Lokta paper production in Nepal still uses the traditional method and is fully done by hand.
The transformation from bark to high-quality paper is a labor-intensive process.
It starts with the harvesting of bark from sustainable sources, cleaning it, softening by cooking in a mixture of either wood ash or caustic soda (where available) and then beating cooked bark by wooden mallet until a fine pulp is made. Finally, the pulp is poured and spread evenly over fine mesh on the wooden frame. It is then dried naturally in the sunlight.
The standard lokta sheet comes in a size of approx. 20 inch x 30 inch but in different weights. The weight of the paper depends on the amount of pulp poured.
Due to its durability and resistance to insects and mildew, government offices in Nepal used lokta paper to keep records. The documents prepared in lokta have remained in good condition for more than 200 years.
Nowadays, lokta has become a versatile material. It is popular among craftspeople. It is an ideal paper to use as invitation cards, notebooks, wallpapers, lampshades, and many other functional items.
KOLPA sells pure lokta sheets of size 20 inch x 30 inch in 5 gm, 10 gm, 20-25 gm, 30-35 gm, and 40 gm. The weight of the sheet is an approximation and might vary slightly. Each sheet varies in texture and color as they come from different regions of Nepal that has diverse climates.
Besides large sheet, we also carry finely pressed Lokta Computer Printer Paper of size A4 perfect for invoices, letters, and menus just to name a few.
Our lokta sheets come from sustainable community forests of Jajarkot, Taplejung, Kaski, and Baglung. These are hilly areas of Nepal where Daphne plants in found are abundance.
Note: Thank you Annapurna Lokta Paper Udhyog, Kaski (one of our partner) for letting us share some images.