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Retting Corn Husks

Firstly, let me say that I am in full support of reviewing materials
submitted for the list and selectively posting.  When people post extremely
long rambling items it is a bad experience for me because all of the
information from the day doesn't get posted in my daily digest.  I fear that
I am losing some comment, announcement or question that might be important or
interesting to me, because all of the space has been taken up by one person
or concern.  My question for those of you on this list however, is concerning
retting.  A few weeks ago there was quite a bit of discussion on retting
flax.  I use a lot of readily available organic material from my area (the
midwest) and at this time of the year one of those is corn husks.  When
boiled down they are a beautiful transparent green and seem promising as a
papermaking source.  Dard Hunter makes some references to paper from corn
husks in the 1800's so I know it has been done, but from the books I have
available there isn't enough info. for me to fully realize this project.
Once the husks are boiled in borax for six hours they  are still not really
tender or workable.  I wonder if anyone thinks that retting would help with
the milk?  If so, is there any particular amount I should use of the milk and
how long should I let it set in it?  I currently have a 15 quart pot full of
finely shredded, boiled corn husks.
Stephanie Bird
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Department of Painting and Drawing

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