Saturday, October 17, 2015

Weaving a Chapri

In preparation for my class at the Morgan Conservatory, I decided to weave the flexible grass mat, or chapri, used in the papermaking process. I didn't have access to the right kind of grass, so I decided to make it out of bamboo splints. After a lot of searching and consultation with Timothy Barrett as to what diameter what best, I bought packs of bamboo skewers from the local Chinese grocery store and started pulling splints to draw them down to the right diameter. 

 The process of drawing splints was long and tedious. Each one took about 10-12 minutes. In order to make a chapri 14" in length, I had to pull 266 bamboo skewers.

The jig used to weave the flexible mat was fashioned by Timothy Barrett. This particular weaving jig can be used to weave any size mat for papermaking.

The knot that I used to tie the fishing line used for weaving onto the bobbins was one referenced in Tim Barrett's book, Japanese Papermaking.

The bobbins I used were a good weight and were made specifically for weaving mould surafces.

I used a piece of board to the left of the jig to help align the splints during the weaving process.


Pulling the splints for weaving this chapri took about 2 months.
Weaving them into a flexible mould surface took only 3 hours!

Overall, very satisfying process. I can't wait to make more!

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