How We Make Our Journals

Gathering paper

Used paper is gathered from various companies and agencies around town by Akello, our manager. She makes sure each lady has a steady supply of recycled paper to use each week.

Gathering paper

Tear up in water

Each of our six papermakers tear their paper into small pieces and soak it overnight in water.

Pound paper

The now mushy paper is then pounded with a mortar and pestle until it is reduced to a pulp. Plant materials such as sorghum leaves or banana leaves are also pounded into fine pieces.

Pound paper

Add pulp and plant to box of water

Paper pulp and plant material are mixed in a large container of water, causing the water to become milky in color.

Pull screen up through water

A wooden frame stretched with thin material, our “screen”, is dipped down and pulled up through the water, catching the pulp and plant on the surface of the cloth and letting the water run through. An empty wooden frame is paired with each screen to hold the pulp in and form the new sheet of paper.

Pull screen up through water

Flip and press on linoleum

Each screen is then laid face-down on a piece of linoleum while the excess water is sponged out of the pulp.

Flip and press on linoleum

Dry in sun

The screens with the newly formed sheets of paper are laid out to dry in the sun. Paper is easily removed from the screen after drying completely.

Dry in sun

Cut paper

The paper is cut and folded into small books.

Cut paper Fold paper

Sew journals

The small books are fitted together and sewn into the leather. Each journal's quality is checked before they are sent to the US.

Sew journals