Crafting paper wraps for our line of botanical natural soaps brings so much joy in our studio.
We like that the entire process, from the moment the raw paper fiber is harvested to the moment the soap bar nicely surprises a client, is sustainable and artisanally crafted with care and love for the nature, communities and our special clients. It is one of the reasons why we prefer to use this soft and durable handcrafted paper as a packaging method for our botanical soap bars.
You may ask yourself (as we also did when looking to find an eco-friendly package choice), what makes Lokta paper so special ?
Here are a few of our findings:
Lokta paper, an eco-friendly non-wood forest product. is handmade by the Nepalese communities from the fibrous inner bark of Lokta bush, which is an evergreen shrub belonging to Dahne plant family.
The shrubs that grows in the southern slopes of Nepal's Himalayan in the high altitude forest (6500-9500 ft.), is an important eco-friendly resource and a reliable revenue stream for the local rural communities.
The earliest surviving paper made from Lotka appears in a form of sacred Buddhist text, Karanya Buha Sutra, which is estimated to be 1000 - 1900 year old.
The bark of the Daphne bush is harvested by hand-cutting its stem at the ground level without affecting the main bush roots. Lokta bush naturally regenerates within 2-3 years and reaches a full grown high of 5 m after 5-7 years.
After being transformed into a paste, by boiling the fiber for 8 hours, the resulting paste is added by the skilled artisans to a wooden/mesh frame. Before sitting to naturally dry in the sun, flower petals, seeds or leaves will be laid onto the pulp in order to create a unique paper.
When dried, the paper sheet is hand-dyed using water based paints ( which do not contain synthetic chemicals or acids, but are created from plants and natural minerals) to create interesting patterns, and once again will sit to dry in the sun.
This strong and durable handmade paper can last for 2000 to 3500 years. The soft handmade paper are non-perishable in the water, free of germs and highly resistant to insects, which makes it a popular alternative to be used for books, wallpaper, wrapping, packaging origami, and official government documents.
Can you see why we fell in love with this eco-friendly hand-crafted paper?
When we handle with care a Lokta paper sheet to handcraft a soap bar wrap, we can feel the love added in the process of its creation by these amazing Nepalease artisans, and we can only be grateful to each one of them.
Next time, when you will gift a bar of soap from our Artisanally Crafted Soap Collection to your loved ones or to yourself, try to experience this amazing feeling and send us a few words about it. We would love to know about your unique experience.
References and further readings:
- Lokta paper craft, Nepali Paper website, consulted on January 7th, 2019.
- Lokta Paper, Wikipedia, consulted on January 7th, 2019.
- How is Nepalese Lokta Paper Made?, Anglesey Paper Company website, consulted on January 7th, 2019.