For almost 2,000 years, the Daphne Cannabina, also known as “lokta”, has been prized as the source for handmade paper in Nepal. It grows at an elevation of 2000 to 3500 meters in the understory of forests. The bush, which is an evergreen shrub and a subspecies of laurel, grows wildly and in abundance. Amazingly, once harvested, it can regenerate to a fully grown 4-5 meter plant within only 5-7 years!
The paper which is made of the fibrous inner bark of the bush is durable and resistant to tearing, humidity, insects and mildew, and it is these qualities which have made it the preferred choice for official records and religious texts.
The process of making paper is a traditional one: cook the bark twice, consecutively wash it, chop and beat it with wooden mallets, pour the soft pulp over a wooden frame, spread, and then sun dry. The consistency of the paper is rough, but attractive, and it can be made in thin to thick grades, left in its original buff color or dyed with natural colors.
Today eco-friendly lokta is gaining popularity and is being used as chocolate packaging, wrappers to keep incense, spices and medicines fresh, for origami, and (best of all!) as dress material!
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, why not check out our limited edition selection of lokta handmade cards in our Etsy shop https://etsy.me/2GeEx23 and pen your beloved a message of love that will withstand the test of time (and bugs!)