Pull out your papermaking vat and prep your fiber—it’s time to make some handmade paper sheets using your brand new deckle box! If you’re just tuning in, check out our tutorial on how to make your own deckle box.
The deckle box can be used to make test sheets, adjust sheet weight, or create unique sheets of handmade paper. While these things can also be achieved with a conventional western mould and deckle, the deckle box allows for a certain level of flexibility, since you can modify a small amount of fiber without contaminating an entire vat. Sometimes you’re one sheet away from completing a project and need the final sheet to be just so—a deckle box is a great way to control all of your variables without committing to a total vat set-up.
Hand papermaking conventionally relies on three elements: vat, fiber, screen (click over to the basic handmade paper tutorial if you’re not familiar with the process).
A deckle box combines the vat and screen elements into a single piece of equipment, and holds enough water and pulp for a single sheet—no vat required! This alternative temporarily builds up the walls of your mould and deckle.
“A New Naginata, in Cleveland” is a guest article by Aimee Lee, interdisciplinary artist, Fulbright fellow, and author of Hanji Unfurled: One Journey into Korean Papermaking. Aimee recently oversaw the creation and arrival of a stainless-steel naginata beater, built by David Reina Designs, to The Morgan Conservatory. A naginata beater is similar to a hollander beater, but generally used in Eastern style hand papermaking to process long fibers such as kozo. The difference is that a naginata has long, thin, rotating blades that tease the fibers apart. The resulting paper sheet is remarkably even. One of the few naginatas in the United States, this piece of papermaking equipment is a game changer!