A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of spending an evening at a local Chinese restaurant with two friends.
At the time, we were in our 20s, and we were eating lunch with a bunch of other Chinese people.
We sat at the counter and were introduced to one of the local women at the table, who spoke with a soft, confident voice and seemed to have a good understanding of Chinese.
The next thing we knew, we had been asked to make paperbook pages for her.
“Do you have a notebook?” she asked, pointing to the small wooden box in the corner.
The first thing we did was put the pages in.
It took about 15 minutes.
It was a bit of a chore, but we were happy with the results.
After about 30 minutes, she handed us a few sheets of paper and asked if we could make the pages on the spot.
She handed us another sheet of paper.
“Now, take it to your friend,” she said, “and put it on the table.
When he does that, he’ll come back and see it.”
After about 15 seconds, I asked if she could use her phone to take a photo of the paper.
She said no, but the next thing I knew, she had my phone.
She took a few photos of the pages and then took the photos in front of the phone, and then she sent me the photos to my friend.
I was completely shocked and surprised that the Chinese woman was able to make these pages on her phone, even though it was a big challenge.
It would have been a nightmare to do this on my own.
And yet, it was the best thing that ever happened to me.
There are two things about Chinese papermaking that are so fascinating.
One, it is a method that is unique in the world.
The other is that, even with the limitations of our modern technology, this method is incredibly easy to follow.
The paper is made in the traditional way, using the leaves and branches of bamboo and bamboo shoots, and the leaves are then cut into thin strips, with the branches then glued together.
It’s an extremely complex, complicated process, but once you understand how it’s done, it’s pretty simple to make the paper at home.
This article was originally published on March 5, 2017.