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NAMASTE PAPER & CRAFT

For over 1,500 years paper has been made by hand in the mountain regions of Nepal. The raw material is the bark of the Danphe Paparycea, commonly known as Lokta. 

 

Seshram Shrestha is the owner of Namaste Paper and Craft and for the last 20 years has continued the age old process of Lokta paper production. Being a local resident of Bhaktapur, it was important that his organization be based in this historic city. He was trained for 6 months through a Government Institution in the art of Paper Crafting. His business is running well and is financially in a good state.

 

He employs 14 women who work full time from 9:30 am till 5 pm. They are all locals from the Bhaktapur area. The majority were trained on the job in the factory. The work allows for them to be financially independent and has set a good example for Woman Employment and Empowerment.

Loktapaper’ is renowned for its exceptional durability and special texture. The oldest available manuscripts of Hindu and Buddhist texts, Royal edicts and legal documents found in Nepal were all recorded on this handmade paper, many centuries old. The bark is collected from a high altitude, approximately 2000 metres, and via a process that is environmentally conscientious of preserving the fragile ecology of Nepal’s forests.

The transformation begins by soaking the lokta overnight in water. The following morning it is boiled and beaten with a wooden mallet. The soft pulp is then poured over a wooden net frame and spread evenly by gently shaking the floating frame in a tank of pond water. Finally it is set out in the sun to dry. Once it is dry it can then be dyed different colors. The hues are made up of natural and chemical based dyes. The color is boiled in 100 degree water where it is then filtered through a cotton cloth and mixed with glue, which will fortify the paper. The paper is soaked into the mixture for approximately 2 minutes and then applied/brushed onto a zinc plate and left to dry in the sun for a day. Once the sheet of paper is peeled from the plate it is passed through the "Calendar Machine" to smoothen its surface. Finally it is measured, cut and folded to create notebooks, boxes, picture frames, hanging lamps and trinkets. Lokta paper crafting is traditionally inspired and reflects Nepal's unique culture and heritage.