The main biomass ingredient serving to produce Notweed Paper is the Japanese knotweed. Seeing how widespread it is on a global scale, we could rename the plant to ‘globetrotter’. The Japanese knotweed is prone to grow over degraded areas while its pervasiveness causes annoyances to plenty of residents. But that’s because most of them are unaware of the plant’s useful properties. It’s on these undesirable areas that the creators of the Notweed Paper brand gather twice a year and invite their supporters and friends to join them at urban foraging. They then take their harvest to the nearby paper mill where the Japanese knotweed replaces wood pulp used in paper production. In Slovenia, wood pulp is exclusively imported. Notweed Paper has already gathered supporters among environmentally conscious individuals and organisations that understand the importance and the breakthrough of this eco-innovation.
Due to its particular composition, Notweed Paper prides itself in a much richer texture than other organic papers, while its colour shades can vary. No bleaches are used during paper production. It has a pleasant, velvety feel and stands out for its haptic characteristics. It is currently available in two grammages: 130 and 250 grams. These are suitable for printing business cards, cards, posters, graphics, flyers or certificates, just to name a few. It performs best in contrast colour printing, letterpress printing, as well as digital and offset printing. To get a first impression, paper samples are available to order from the manufacturers. With every purchase, the customer is given a certificate of authenticity.
To make Notweed paper, designers at Trajna collective first need to collect dry biomass. They do that in early spring: together with friends and project supporters, they harvest the plant in a specific location in Ljubljana, where Japanese knotweed is abundant. One of their harvesting spots lies next to the railroad and the river and hasn't been visited by its owner for decades. When the biomass is collected, they shred it into fine pieces. To purify the fibres, the stems need to be cooked with caustic soda; they then beat them down in a paper mill. This is how the paper pulp is produced. The golden mixture is then moved to a machine that transforms it into paper rolls. Because they work with old instruments, the paper they produce always varies in shade and quality. This disrupts the logic of efficiency and standardisation and gives space for diversity, experimentation and surprise. The paper asks them to look for partners - such as printers and designers - who recognise such deviations as an advantage and that are eager to experiment with the potentials of the material.
Notweed Paper Production (Video)
NotWeed Paper TEST (Article)
Plant Fever. The book (Article)
Center of Creativity, Museum of Architecture and Design in Ljubljana
Nataša Košmerl, Jonathan Killick & Elliott Taylor