Go Green

Gourmet paper from your produce

Few books provide food recipes that aren't meant for the kitchen table. And probably even less call for fruit and vegetable scraps in the ingredients.

Yet, that's exactly what you'll find in Sunnyvale author Ellaraine Lockie's newest book, "The Gourmet Paper Maker."

Lockie has crafted the art of turning food scraps into decorative pieces of handmade paper.

The 128-page book includes recipes for paper made from orange skins, banana peels, garlic and onion skins, carrot ends, melon rinds and an array of other inedible parts of fruits and vegetables that end up in most kitchen garbage cans.

Lockie said she developed her paper-making technique during years of experimenting in her own kitchen. In her introduction, Lockie describes her passion for paper making, calling it therapy, meditation, art and a visual pleasure.

Her paper-making cookbook is primarily intended for beginning paper makers. The book gives simple directions and avoids technical terminology used by professional hand paper makers.

Lockie guides the reader through easy step-by-step directions accompanied with visuals that demonstrate each part of the process. She covers workplace safety, needed equipment and supplies, and how to prepare the fiber, make the pulp, form the sheets and color the paper.

She also includes a section called "Problems & Solutions" should readers run into trouble.

The paper produced in the book are both practical and ornamental. Lockie said readers may use the paper for business cards, gift paper, bookmarks, lamp shades or invitations. The papers are highly textured, but always have one side that is smooth for writing, she said.

The weight, texture, color and strength of paper depends upon the ingredients. If you're looking for elegant, high-quality paper, save your corn husk scraps. According to Lockie's book, corn husks make some of the finest handmade paper. The husks are strong, but create paper with a luxurious look and feel that's well-suited for stationary. Broccoli stalks, on the other hand, will create a rough texture, and paper made from melon rinds will have a leathery look and a sandpaper feel.

Lockie has taught paper making classes for several years. More than 600 samples of her paper making are on display in the Robert C. Williams American Museum of Paper making in Atlanta.

Her book also has generated international interest. Later this year, she will travel to South Africa, where business heads have invited her to explore setting up a production process so local workers can make paper largely from residue generated by sugar cane operations.

She is scheduled to make a presentation of her paper making methods at 11 a.m., Saturday at the Sunnyvale Public Library, 665 West Olive Avenue. The "Gourmet Paper Maker" can be purchased from Creative Publishing International for $19.95 or over the Internet at www.Amazon.com.

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