• The Smell of Paper
  • JournalPapermaking

The Smell of Paper

Perfumer's Handmade Paper

Today I've embarked on my papermaking adventures, although the odyssey have began a couple of years ago, when I began to collect scented scent strips, filters, tissue paper and other scraps of paper that got tainted with scent in the perfume making process.

For a while now I've been asking myself - what should this paper smell like? I've been torn between designing a particular scent for it; and between using the magical randomality that occurs from years of collecting scented stuff. The smell of "everything" that I have around - which is so well presented in the bagfuls of scent strips that have been collected over the years. Jasmine, patchouli, rose, vetiver, oakmoss, odds and ends of spilled Film Noir, Immortelle l'Amour and Eau de Tinkerbelle's haunting soliflore boronia... These all seemed too precious to be thrown into the regular recycling basket.

Instead, they are a whispering testament to the olfactory quests that have been occurring at my studio: students' struggles with identifying an essence on a blotter strip in a "blind test"; me in a search for a particular accord or winning combination to tell the story of a Coal Harbour morning... They all somehow make it to the pages of this fragrant story, that seeps through the fibers of paper and travels beyond time. I find the experience haunting; and today - after over 2 hours at my little "mill", I've discovered how potent this paper was. The entire house smells of this quiet random array of notes. It refuses to leave the equipment it's been touching. And I find this all to be exciting and also very reassuring - that all this collecting is going to account to something quite intimate and personal. Like the fingerprint of my studio in the moist pulp of paper awaiting molding.

These are just some of my initial thoughts on this project. I find it haunting and exciting, and it seems like the possibilities with this paper are quite endless; both practically (there are more ways that I can count right now for uses for handmade paper) and artistic. It feels like the beginning of another diary or journal...
  • JournalPapermaking
Back to the top