Picture books are ideas made of words and art.
They are also objects made of paper, cardboard, glue and ink.
Last week I visited a papermaking workshop in San Agustin Etla. The workshop is in an old building beside a river, in the hills about ten miles from the city of Oaxaca in Mexico.
It is a peaceful and shady place.
The paper is made from cotton pulp. It is mixed with other natural materials such as the fibers from corn husks, bast, mica.
Sometimes it is tinted with cochineal, annatto seeds, indigo or other natural dyes.
The cotton is soaked and pounded in a machine, forming a pulp.
The pulp is lifted out from the bucket in a wood frame with a screen set into it.
The water drains out leaving the pulp behind.
The paper is released onto a tin sheet, where the moisture is pressed into felt blankets.
The sheets are hung to dry.
When a page is completetly dry it is peeled off of the tin sheets.
The paper is ready. It is waiting for ideas, words and art.