• Scott Montgomery

Making Paper from Plants in the Peruvian Jungle

If you’re interested in learning about the craft of artisanal paper making, maybe it’s time that you make a visit to Chazuta, located in the jungles of Peru, in order to get a first-hand perspective into this unique art.

What’s the big deal about natural paper making?

Paper making is one of many types of important art that are slowly being forgotten within Peru. For those who are interested in self-expression, learning how to make paper by hand, can help you to expand your creative horizons. Once you learn how to make paper out of plants from the Peruvian jungle, you can learn to make paper with most any plant-based material.

Where do they do it?

The indigenous community of Chazuta is located in the region of San Martin, about an hour drive outside of Tarapoto. It’s a very small town and is therefore not hard to find the papermaking collective’s building, which is located right off of the main road. And not only is the town of Chazuta a great place to go to learn about papermaking. If you make your way to the town, you’ll also many other fascinating attractions: opportunities to visit organic cacao plantations, to learn about chocolate making, ceramics, and ecotourism. With all of these options available to you, while you’re in Chazuta, paper making is just one of many possible adventures.

How do they do it?

The papermaking collective in Chazuta consists of less than ten women who join together almost every afternoon to make paper together. Also, when people show up with interest to learn about the craft of papermaking, they make themselves available to teach you.

What kinds of plants can you make paper out of?

They make papers from any of many dozens of available plants that grow in the jungle. Each plant has its own characteristics, such as color, texture, and thickness. According to the women at the center, the best plant to use is the banana leaf. There are also many people who request that they make papers out of the ayahuasca vine.

How can I take a papermaking workshop?

If you are interested in taking a papermaking workshop, the best way to participate is to arrive in the town of Chazuta, which is located about an hour outside of Tarapoto. Once you get to Chazuta, look for the papermaking workshop, which is located on Chazuta’s main street.

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