farmette's School of Papermaking FAQs
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Who is this class for?
This class will be of great benefit to anyone who would like to learn the art of papermaking. I’ve created it with artists and designers specifically in mind, with the intention of showing them a simple and productive papermaking system that would allow them to offer handmade paper with their work, adding to their profitability and creative control of their beautiful products. The class will also be more than enough to train a robust hobby papermaker, and will give plenty of information for someone looking at building a larger scale, production papermaking studio.
When is it?
Doors opened on November 27 (Black Friday) and close December 11th. The first lessons will be available starting on December 1st, covering setting the intentions/goals/scale for your papermaking, setting up your space, and sourcing/assembling your equipment. You’ll have a few weeks to get your equipment ready (and get through the holidays), and then we’ll start the new year by diving into the actual paper-making and business application units together, with the rest of the course becoming available on January 4th.
What will the course cover?
For lack of a better term, we will cover “farmette-style” papermaking. We will cover:
- determining the scale most appropriate for you and choosing your equipment to match
- what equipment you’ll need and where (within the US) to source it
- our inexpensive diy mould and deckle -making methods
- setting up your studio
- making pulp
- the actual papermaking process: prepping your vat, pulling sheets, couching, hanging and drying
- processing your dry paper
- setting your pricing
- distinguishing your paper brand
- tips for scaling
- plus bonuses: creative experiments in papermaking, handmade paper on the letterpress, and more!
What will the course NOT cover?
- a comprehensive overview of paper-making styles: I’ll cover our farmette technique and not other methods
- synthetic coloring: we use botanical dyes and so are unfamiliar with synthetics, but we can point you to where to get them if you’d like to use them!
- specific natural dye recipes: we’ll mention the types of dyes we use and give you some tips, but making your own color recipes is part of designing your own papermaking brand!
How much space/time will I need/how much will the equipment cost?
That depends on the scale at which you would like to make paper! I suggest there are three rough categories of papermaking studios: hobby, micro mill (with or without a Hollander beater), and production studio. I’ve made a handy little spreadsheet to give you an idea of the (very!) rough production capacity of each scale, along with the production efficiency, materials costs and required equipment costs. You can find the nerdy details here.
Don’t I need a Hollander beater?
You’ll quickly find out that paper is made from pulp, and pulp is made in a Hollander beater. This machine processes fibers like abaca and cotton with water until they’re ready to be made into sheets. Even small Hollander beaters are quite expensive (around $2,500-$3,000 at a minimum). Without a beater, sourcing pre-processed pulp has been prohibitively expensive because, unless you happen to live within easy driving distance of a papermaker with a beater, it is generally shipped wet (aka HEAVY) and costs at least as much to ship as for the pulp itself.
BUT!! We are really excited to be offering already-processed, DRY pulp that can be shipped inexpensively, soaked in water and broken down into pulp quickly with a power drill attachment. This saves you not only the investment of a Hollander beater, but also the time and space of loading and running one. We’ll be offering dry pulp starting at $20/lb and would love to provide it for your micro mill! Please email us if you have more questions about this!
So to answer the question, no, you don’t need a Hollander beater, especially for a small scale operation. If you plan to make paper on a very large scale, though - yes! Definitely plan to invest in one (preferably a large one!) when your scale justifies the investment and the reduced materials cost it will provide.
What’s the investment for the course?
We have spent hundreds if not thousands of hours and tens of thousands of dollars in equipment, materials and labor to develop our paper-making system. I recently told my husband that if I could have spent $5,000 on this class when I was just starting out, it would have been totally worth it!
But because I want to make papermaking an accessible not just to large scale production studios but also to artists and designers who want to add papermaking to their work, I’m offering it for $797 (or two payments of $400), with an additional $200 off for our opening (Black Friday) weekend. All the information you need to set up a productive and profitable paper-making studio for only $597, or two payments of $300! A payment plan of $150/mo for 6 months will also be available if that is a better fit for you (the $200 opening weekend discount cannot be applied to the 6-month plan).
How do I sign up?
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Please feel free to email Loren with any other questions you may have: email@example.com. Thank you!!