Noxious or Invasive Weed in Oregon
September 18, 2004. This year I'm into some serious papermaking. I've been studying the flowers of the Klamath Basin for two years - taking photographs and learning which flowers are noxious weeds or invasive plants. This plant is on the Noxious Weeds list for Oregon. To view my page of pictures documenting this plant, go to my Scientific Index and look up Nuphar lutea. Please do not bookmark the Nuphar lutea page as I move my photos and pages around regularly. My index will always be the same, though.
In mid-July, I wandered into the overflow ditch for the canal that runs along Highway 97 just north of Worden, Oregon and took a series of pictures. I also sampled one of the leaf stems to see if this plant might yield some fiber. I am hoping these will yield some paper but won't be surprised if they don't. It is possible the pith just might offer some fiber up and there is a very thin bast layer that looks promising and delicate. I am expecting this plant to require only a short cook in plain water and to be blenderable.
I harvested a small armload of the fading stems. I chose the ones still full of water. They were easy enough to gather, just a pinch on the stem and a quick twisting tug and they popped right off. Some were advanced enough in die back they pulled loose from the base. The stems were kind of fun. When I squeezed them, a viscous water would pour out of the end. I wonder if that could be put to any use as, perhaps, a formation aid. Also, the resulting stubs looked quite interesting! I dropped the stems into a plastic bag and set them out in Studio O awaiting chopping.
September 18, 2004. I grabbed the bag of stems and plunked myself down in front of the television. As I watched the programs, I snipped them with a pair of kitchen scissors. The stems, after sitting for a few days, were pretty disgusting and some were tough to pull apart across the grain. The scissors made short shrift of them.
I didn't expect it would be necessary to apply any washing soda or lye, so I was able to fill up a regular cooking pot with the cuttings, add water and placed them on the stove. I turned the first pot up on high until the water started to boil. When it did, I switched the electric down quickly and snatched the pot away for a moment because it produced a lot of suds. I adjusted the heat to barely below a boil, gave the fiber a good stir and the suds disappeared quickly. I went back to cutting the rest of the stems into another pot. Talk about stink. It smells like oceanside tide pools and dead crab shells laying in the sunlight. *whew* Next time I cook these babies up I'll do it outside.
In a mere half hour, the fiber was ready to convert into pulp after I performed the finger test where I grip each end of a piece of the plant with my index finger and thumb and pull gently, but firmly across the grain to see if it breaks! I rinsed quite a bit, getting a bit brutal with it to smash out any gunk that might be left from the watery parts of the stems. Surprise, surprise - there was almost no gunk. This plant rendered quite a bit of workable fiber! Before rinsing (picture on the far right) the fiber resembled my artichoke leaves. After rinsing (picture on the near right) the fiber looked more like a clump of tiny strands. I am eager to make this into paper to see how it turns out!
Without any washing soda or lye, the tea produced a very mild, ineffective dye. It was a pleasant brown and I can only imagine what it could have yielded with the proper chemicals added.
October 2, 2004. I set up in Studio O for paper pulling and pouring. I had read on the Papermaking Yahoogroup about folks using condiment bottles to pour larger sheets and maintain a modicum of control, so I thought I would give it a try. I'm not impressed, but I assume it will take practice.
I whirled the fiber for a mere 30 seconds in the blender and got a nice, thick, slurpy looking pulp. I poured that directly into the condiment bottle and squirted myself a nice, big piece of paper onto a window screen. A goodly bunch oozed through onto my work table. I also discovered I needed to tile the screen as the cracks in the wood were showing through on the paper. I slapped the paper onto my post (I use wetted down retired cotton sheets) and saw it was nothing much more than gunk. I scooped it up, placed it into a paint bag and gave it a good rinse ending up with about 1/3 of the fiber I thought I had. I examined the resulting fiber and ascertained that, while it was cool, It would also turn into more gunk if I whirled it again to get smaller fibers. I finished whirling the rest of the cooked fiber and poured it all into the paint bag and rinsed until all the gunk was gone. I grabbed a handful of the fiber and closed my fist to make a small wad to use as my measurement. I added one handful to the condiment bottle, topped it off with water and shook it up. The fiber required some determination to break up, but once it did it remained floating without any further shaking. I really like the way this pulp looks on the screen!! I slapped the first sheet onto the post and quickly squeegeed the excess water off with my hand. It looked alright. I left it there. I loaded two handsful of pulp into the condiment bottle and squirted another sheet onto the window screening. I slapped this one onto the post as well. I dallied slightly and the pulp plopped off a wee bit so next time I'll need to wait until the last moment and swing that puppy from upright to upside down on the post like a tennis racket. *whap* I squeegeed the excess water off with my hand and left the two papers in Studio O while I packed up all electrical gear to call it a day. What I learned from this is this pulp will make a delightful interest into another paper. I set what fiber I had aside to play with another day.
Klamath Falls Flowers
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Copyright 1998-2008 Colleen D. Bergeron.
Last revised: November 14 2008