Handmade New Zealand Flax Paper
New Zealand Flax, Phormium tenax, is a popular ornamental plant with long, strap-like leaves that produces a very strong paper, light brown in color with flecks. We collect pruned dead leaves from our own plants and from local landscapers.

"The core of Lost Coast Culture Machine is paper. Our choice materials for papermaking are invasive species and otherwise landfill-bound rag, but we also make paper from flax, hemp, abaca, shredded cash, and various other local plants and natural fibers. The fibers are cut small and cooked, then rinsed and beaten into pulp, then mixed with water, drawn into sheets, and finally pressed and dried, without all the poisonous chemicals used in the production of wood-based papers.


We produce handmade papers intended for fine arts applications such as bookmaking, letterpress, printmaking, painting and drawing, as well as premium papers suitable for everyday journaling and correspondence. Our equipment includes a five-pound Noble and Woods hollander beater, a customized 50-ton press, a forced-air, flat restraint drying system, and a couching table and vat to accommodate our largest sheets and moulds. We also have a pulp sprayer to produce sheets up to 8 ft x 8 ft, as well as screenprinting and relief printing capabilities." —A.B.


Anne Beck's paper will serve as background for each of Works & Days Quarterly's 2014 issues.