Gampi Paper (Philippines)
Gampi paper is made in the Philippines from bark fibre. The bark comes from the Abaci tree, which looks very much like a banana tree. The exceedingly strong fibres in the bark have made it a much-used raw material for many centuries already. It used to be widely used for making rope and clothes. The long fibre structure provides a beautiful, silky finish that makes this paper particularly attractive. For the production of paper, other fibres are also added, including Cogon grass. This ‘useless’ weed was discovered as being extremely suitable for paper production.
The stripped bark is boiled and reduced to pulp in large kettles. This pulp is then soaked in water and spread out by hand on large frames. Often dried flowers or leaves are carefully strewn over the wet paper pulp sheets before the screens are stood out in the sun for drying. Once the paper is dry, it is carefully removed from the screens, flattened and checked for any inconsistencies. The paper is now ready to be painted or printed, or to be made into other products.
There are many small businesses in the Philippines that produce Gampi paper. In fact, it is an important local source of income.