Environmental Impact

Hand papermaking is a low impact process where few chemicals are used. The primary resource used is water. Water from the papermaking process at Red Paper Studio is subsequently used to water the landscaping around the studio. Chemicals used in the papermaking process are listed below.

Liz uses a variety of reclaimed and recycled materials in her work

  • The cotton and flax (linen) used in her paper are processed from clothing factory scraps. Liz also collects and processes local fibers such as grasses to produce handmade paper.
  • Most of the steel used in Liz’s lamps and sculptures is retrieved from the local scrap yard.
  • Liz also scours thrift stores for objects that can be used as components in her lamps and sculpture.


Papermaking materials and chemicals:

  • Cellulose – is the primary component of paper, it is often referred to as ‘dietary fiber’, cellulose is the most common organic compound on Earth. About 33% of all plant matter is cellulose (the cellulose content of cotton fiber is 90%, that of wood is 40–50% and that of dried hemp is approximately 45%).
  • Pigments – pigments are the only truly lightfast colorants as they are chemically inactive and very stable. Aqueous dispersed pigments are used in paper making, that is, they are finely ground inert particles dispersed in water. Little pigment is released into waste water and what is presents no risks.
  • Alkyl ketene – is used as a sizing agent or wet strength additive in paper production. It was the first ‘synthetic, reactive’ sizing and has been used for the past 50 years. It is used in very small quantities and binds the cellulose fibers. Very little sizing is released into waste water and posses no environmental risk.
  • Polyethylene oxide/polyacrylamide – these chemicals are used as a formation aid in papermaking.  Formation aid is a slippery, slightly gelatinous liquid that aids the flow of paper pulp that is sprayed or ‘pulp painted’. These chemicals pose no environmental risk.
  • Methyl cellulose -  used as a thickener and emulsifier in various food and cosmetic products, and also as a treatment of constipation. Like cellulose, it is not digestible, not toxic, and not an allergen.
  • Sodium Carbonate – also known as washing soda is sold as a laundry additive. It has a relatively high PH of 11, that is, it is alkaline. It is used to remove the soft tissue from harvested fibers. Fibers such as artist collected grasses are cooked in water and washing soda. The washing soda dissolves the lignin in the plant leaving the cellulose intact. Waste water from cooking fibers can be neutralized with vinegar before disposal.
  • Powder Coating – Powder coating is a type of coating that is applied as a free flowing, dry powder and is used on many of Liz’s steel lamp frames. The main difference between a conventional liquid paint and a powder coating is that the powder coating does not require a solvent to keep the binder and filler parts in a liquid suspension form. The coating is typically applied electrostatically and is then cured under heat to allow it to flow and form a “skin”. Powder coatings emit zero or near zero volatile organic compounds (VOC). Powder coating overspray can be recycled and thus it is possible to achieve nearly 100% use of the coating. Powder coating production lines produce less hazardous waste than conventional liquid coatings.
  • Varnish – A low VOC (volatile Organic Compounds) varnish is sometime used to coat lamps. The varnish used is water based, non-yellowing, and formulated to have the optimum level of clarity with the least amount of sheen (Dead Flat). It is used as a protective finish coat over handmade paper to add durability, strength, and moisture resistance.