The recycled paper experience was a little laborious with many challenges. The first obstacles was the collection of the material including the paper to recycle and the equipment needed to do the process.
A week ago, I visited the bars, restaurants and stores around my work explaining the project and asking them to collect paper for me but as it is peek vacation season here they all pretty much where too busy to help.
At the same time I visited the local seamstress looking for fabric to use as a sieve. When I explained the project she told me she had many magazines from the 70's that she was throwing away. So with this visit I was able to acquire two elements of what I needed.
I had already made recycled paper when I was a kid and more recently I was experimenting with it in relation to zero waste. But when I moved I had to place some of my things in storage and didn't have those materials with me. I wanted to solve this in a way where I did not need to buy anything, making or reusing the materials I needed.
My first idea was to use a workman's sieve, which is used in here on construction sites to sift the rocks from sand or to sort out beans or coffee on the plantations.
I lost a couple of days thinking how I would do it. Overlapping the screen over itself or with another material. A possible solution was to use the fabric that I got from the seamstress. She had explained to me that it was generally used locally to strain milk to make dairy products or corn to make cornflower. I sewed it onto the workman's sieve and it looked like it was going to work until I realised it was way to big for the plastic basin I was using.
With time running out and unable to find another container big enough I decided that I would have to go to the market and see if I could find something smaller. I found a kind of pan sieve that came in different sizes and was flat which meant they could fit neatly into each other.
I cut up the old needlework magazines and used a hand mixer to mix them up. I don't have a blender but the mixer worked (although the outcome wasn't quite what I expected). The final paper had big pieces and it was a little bulky, but I did my best. I also decide to use saffron to give a different coloration, more interesting than dirty grey, and also was the easiest pigment I had to hand.
We are right in the middle of winter vacation in Brazil and I live in a town that is very dependent on tourism. Everybody is working around the clock right now during high season it's hard to get people to participate in workshops and things like this at the moment. But during the afternoons my neighbour babysits in the house next door. We share a garden so as I was preparing to make the paper one of the girls came over to have a look. She was very keen to help and got stuck in with the mission, which means that the results you are seeing was produced by four hands, mine and those of Luana, 6 years old.
We did the first test and saw that it worked so we started to add different elements that we found in our garden to the recycled paper. We used littler purple flowers, pieces fo the cotton tree and dry leaves.