We have recently introduced some exclusive new treeless paper products to our collection; our gorgeous artisan produced batik paper sheets (above), Lokta paper twine (which I'd been searching for so long), new wonderful hard cover diaries and our stunning new buffalo leather and lokta paper journals.
Finding our new Lokta paper partner this last trip in Nepal was a blessing - we are finally able to showcase some products you won't find anywhere else in Australia as we've been offered exclusivity on this range. I spent the day with them at their workshop watching the ladies create these gorgeous paper products that we are so excited to present.
About the Lokta Shrub
The Lokta shrub is one of many genera of the Daphne species (above left) which thrive in the mountainous Himalayan region. What makes this particular plant (daphne papyracea) so conducive to paper making is the fact that only the inner fibre (above right) is harvested, leaving the rest of the plant to regenerate and continue to supply regular fibrous bark.
Four years after each harvest the bark has regrown and is ready to be collected again, resulting in a true eco fibre - sustainable production at it's finest.
It remains in the forest for the sole purpose of paper making - animals do not eat it, and it cannot be burned as fuel due to the heavy, pungent smoke it gives off. It is now 'farmed' under the shade of the taller forest trees in it's natural habitat.
About the Producers and Makers
There are 3 main area's of Lokta production in Nepal:
1. Harvesting the bark
2. Processing the paper pulp
3. Producing craft products from the finished paper
As holding with the ancient tradition, the forests have primarily been the working domain of women in Nepal. It is just as relevant today as more and more men leave the village to look for work in larger towns, Kathmandu and abroad.
The first two steps in Lokta paper production - harvesting and processing pulp - are performed in villages, and this provides a huge economic gain for rural women. They are able to provide an income for their families whilst still caring for their family and performing regular duties.
The third step - producing craft items from the finished paper - is generally performed by local women trained in larger towns. These amazing ladies are earning a wage to help support their families, and learning invaluable career building skills along the way.
Perhaps the product that we are most in LOVE with is our amazing hand twisted Lokta twine. This is perfect for gift wrapping and so many other craft purposes. We sell it in both 10m and 50m rolls, and are loving using it to wrap our online orders with!
Look at some of our gorgeous colours below.
Having said that though, we are just as impressed with our buffalo leather and lokta paper journals too! This particular buffalo leather (which is quite different to our buffalo leather bags) is ethically produced in Southern India and sent to Nepal where Sunil (our partner) uses it to craft these stunning diaries made from his lokta paper.
Please let us know how you like our new ethically produced treeless Lokta Paper products! We love bringing you all our original pieces (even if they not be so original 6 or so months later). Since 2008 we've been trading with Nepal and her people. Even though sometimes it feels like upwards of at least 25 years (27 years to be precise, tongue in cheek) the reality is that it's not. Time does fly!
We're so proud of what we've achieved for both us, our partners and Nepal in general in such a short time. We've put back a great deal of money into communities in Nepal over the past 8 years and seriously could not have done it without you all.
Here's to another 27 years!
Until next time,