Paper – useful material
People use paper for writing, printing, wrapping, and many other purposes. Hundreds of years ago people made paper by hand. Today machines produce most paper. First, the wood fibers are soaked in water and creates a soupy mixture. Next, this mixture is spread on a screen and rollers press out water. Once the fibers are dry, they have become a sheet of paper.
Paper is available in a wide variety of weights, colors, textures, and finishes for a multitude of purposes. Everyday writing and printer paper is thin and smooth. Paper used for arts and crafts is thicker and textured. Cardboard is a thick type of paper used to make packaging. Paper used for newspapers is thin and cheap. Recycled paper is made from used paper.
Almost 2,000 years ago people in China made the first paper. It was made from linen fibers, ground up mulberry bark, and other materials. By the eighth century, papermaking technology had spread to the Middle East and then to Europe. Rags were the chief source of paper fibers until the introduction of papermaking machinery in the early 1800s.
Wood now is the main ingredient of paper pulp, though the better papers contain cotton fiber, and the best are made entirely of cotton.
Today paper is widely used in art.
Countess Isabelle de Borchgrave is known all over the world for her virtuoso talent to turn ordinary paper into expensive fabric, and create chic medieval dresses. The famous designer Hubert de Givenchy said about her work, “She plays with paper as a virtuoso plays a musical instrument.”
There are costumes and dresses of the Medici family, the queens of Elizabeth I and Marie Antoinette, and copies of works by such famous couturiers as Christian Dior and Coco Chanel in her collection of paper clothes. In the artist’s home library there are several thousand books on the history and history of art that help her to understand the epochs. It takes her from three to six weeks to create one dress or costume depending on the complexity and availability of the necessary materials.