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Paper from Plants, an new book by Peter and Donna Thomas

If you ask people what plants can be used to make paper, most of them will
think of wood pulp and reply, “trees”. Or perhaps they will remember the
rag papers of long ago and say, “cotton”. The fact is, all paper is made
from plants, and it is also true that any plant can be used to make paper.
Some plants break easily when pulled; others resist. The tougher plants
will probably make strong, crisp paper. The other plants can be made into
paper as well, but their strengths might be more aesthetic than functional.

Paper From Plants presents thirty different paper specimens and offers a
sampling of the paper that is currently being made from local plants by
America’s hand papermakers.  The papermakers who contributed to Paper From
Plants exemplify all levels of expertise. Some of the papermakers worked
with plants they loved, like iris or sweet pea from the garden. Others made
their paper as a statement: to advocate the legalization of certain plants,
or to spur the eradication of invasive non-native plant species. Still
others used industrial by-products to create hand made paper on a
commercial scale.

This book has been designed as a companion volume to our earlier work, A
Collection of Paper Samples from Hand Papermills in the United States of
America. (Published in 1993, that book was featured in the Guild of
Bookworkers’ 1996-7 traveling exhibition, “Paper Bound” which presented 25
artist/design bindings of the book.)Paper From Plants is not a “how to”
book; those who want technical information can refer to books like
Papermaking With Plants by Helen Heibert. Our intention was to create a
book that would inspire those who had never made paper to try their hand at
the craft; to inspire papermakers now working with pre-processed fibers to
experiment with local plants; and to inspire those who admire handmade
paper to search out and use papers that have been made from plants growing
in the United States

There are one hundred fifty copies, all letterpress printed and handbound
by Peter and Donna Thomas. The book measures 8 3/4 by 11 5/8 inches and
contains fifty folio sheets­30 paper samples and twenty text sheets hand
made by Peter Thomas. Each paper sample is displayed facing a text page
with an illustration of the plant. The text, written by the papermaker,
describes his or her choice of fiber and tells something about the plant or
the process required to make that plant into paper. The illustrations are
line drawings by Donna Thomas. The text was printed in black ink using
Centaur type with Neuland type for the titles: the illustrations in green
ink using metal photo engravings made from the original artwork.

The edition copies have been quarter-bound using green Moroccan leather;
the title has been blind stamped on the spine. The boards are covered with
decorative papers, individually painted in abstract floral hues by Donna
Thomas. The title, printed in green ink on a piece of pampas grass paper,
is set on the front cover between a simple raised geometric design. A stiff
paper wrapper acts as a slipcase for the book. The 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper
samples have been stab sewn through an accordion folded gutter. This unique
sewing system, developed especially for this book, allows the paper samples
to expand and contract with changes in humidity without damaging to the
neighboring sheets.

One hundred and five edition copies are available for $595.00. Fifteen
special copies, full bound in leather with all thirty-one illustrations
beautifully hand-colored, as in the medieval herbals, by Donna Thomas and
housed in a cloth covered clamshell box are available for $945.00. Thirty
copies, bound in full paper bindings, are reserved for the papermakers who
provided the sample sheets. Dealer discounts apply. The book is available
in sheets. California residents please add sales tax. Mastercard and Visa
accepted. To order send payment to:

Peter and Donna Thomas
260 Fifteenth Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
(831) 475-1455

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