Today I made Kozo paper. Kozo is a traditional Japanese papermaking fiber also know as paper mulberry. First, I cooked the fiber in soda ash. Then I used my new rotary cutter and mat to trim the fiber into 3 inch pieces. From previous experience, I know that leaving fibers too long and throwing them in the hollander will result in fibery dreadlocks and overbeaten but uneven pulp. Problem solved! I only had to beat it in the hollander for about 20 minutes because it is such a delicate fiber. I also could have beaten it by hand, with a mallet or bat.
To go along with my new molds, my dad also make a device that sits on the corner of my vat and allows a mold to sit on it and drain into the vat. I believe this sort of thing is traditionally called a bridge or a horn. I think mine looks like something out of a spa! It keeps my table space free and keeps more water in the vat.
My dad just finished building a new set of molds for me! It is a set of two molds and one deckle that fit perfectly, with fancy joints. This way, one is always draining while I'm forming and couching. Its not quite twice as fast, but it sure speeds things up!