Hand papermaking in India is in a state of flux.
In the last few years, there have been several changes in the way the country produces paper and is now one of the largest papermaking countries in the world.
With a rapidly growing middle class, there are now more and more people working in India to support this rapid growth.
Here are the 3 Indians Hand Papermaking artists, who you might like to see in your next project.
A.K. Sharma A. K. Sharma is the owner of Hand Paper Factory in Chennai.
He was born and raised in Tamil Nadu, India, and grew up with a passion for the art of papermaking.
Sharma started his career as a printer, but moved on to designing, creating and printing hand-made paper and books for local artists.
He is now in his 60s, but his skills have not diminished.
He has exhibited internationally and has sold prints, books and more.
“I started out printing handbills and printed on cardboard, but it didn’t take long for me to make the paper I’m proud of today,” he said.
Sharma has been designing and printing paper for a long time and has been able to make some great designs that were also affordable for people in his home state of Tamil Nadu.
“There’s a reason why Hand Paper Company is here, it’s because we have the ability to make our own paper at a very affordable price,” he continued.
Sharma said the hand-making process is similar to that of a paper-making shop.
“The process is the same as you would have to go into a store and make a batch of your favourite goods,” he explained.
He said the paper used for the prints is hand-poured onto paper, and then rolled into the shape of the letter or a word, and pressed into a paper bag.
“Hand papermaking is not a new process, but we are doing something different to the mainstream papermaking industry,” he added.
The artists have been selling their work online and are offering their expertise through workshops and classes.
“We sell handmade hand-crafted paper at an affordable price and are constantly making new hand-painted books for students,” Sharma said.
“A lot of people want to learn hand-papermaking, and we offer classes and workshops for anyone interested,” he concluded.
Anish N. Sharma, founder of Hand-Paste International, is also a passionate artist.
He started off in hand-printing, but has been inspired to create and print paper from a different angle.
“It started when I was a child and was taught by my teacher how to use a pencil to draw a letter.
I wanted to be a better teacher, and this is what I’ve done from an early age,” he recalled.
Sharma’s love for art and the craftsmanship of paper was instilled in him at an early stage, and he continues to create designs for his students.
“Paper was the first thing I learned to make.
I started working in a paper shop as a child.
I love drawing, papermaking and the art process.
It was my first love and passion,” he noted.
He says the handprinting process is a unique one, as there are many factors to consider before each piece is finished.
“My students learn from the process of hand-pressing paper into a shape.
After hand-washing the paper, we then dry it and dry it again.
The dry-erase process also removes all the dirt and residue.
This makes for a stronger paper.
We also make a small batch of each print to use for our customers,” he elaborated.
Kavitha Thapa, owner of Thapa Paper, in Chennai, India.
Thapa started her career as an ink maker, but she says her passion for papermaking has never been extinguished.
“During my early years, I used to take my class for an hour every day to learn papermaking skills.
I also used to hand-spun paper.
I still have the memories of those days,” she said.
The artist and the student are proud to work in the industry.
“Our work is a celebration of hand and ink artistry, and for the students it is also an opportunity to showcase their skills to the world,” she added.
Hand Paper Workshop: Art of Hand and Ink Art by: Anish Sharma, Anish Kaviths, Anil Kav, Anjali Kav and Ankit Kavitya