The glory of oranges

I love my orange tree.  It’s the pride of my garden, closely followed by my mandarin and banana trees.  I’m not a great gardener but this tree rewards me every year, and I’ve just harvested kilos and kilos of gorgeous juicy fruit.

After making multiple jars of marmalade, and squeezing several containers of juice, I found myself left with a couple of buckets of orange peel.

It felt like an excellent time to see if it’s possible to make paper from peel and pith.  Surely there would be some cellulose in the pith at least?

I put the lot in a muslin bag, tied it up, boiled it with a little caustic soda (possibly a mistake in hindsight, but at least nothing will ever go mouldy in the future!) and left it to cool.  The pectin turned to jelly as the pot cooled – oh, how I wish I hadn’t put caustic soda in, I could have tasted it!  The smell was amazing.

Rinsing took a while and the skins started to fall apart under my hands.

No amount of rinsing would get the water to run clear so my mush went into the blender to be lightly pulped, still running orange colour!

Using my normal papermaking techniques – documented on this blog many times – I proceeded to make sheets of paper.  The orange pulp didn’t have enough fibre to form sheets alone so I mixed it with varying quantities of my cardstock pulp and came out with some lovely, and fragrant, sheets of A5 and A4 paper.

Clockwise from top left: Plain A4 sheets, A5 sheets with added banana pulp on some, close-up of textural surface showing specks of peel throughout.

That was fun!  More pieces for my ‘earth’ theme book I am working towards creating.

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About Claire B

I'm a passionate printmaker, paper-maker and a poor sketcher (which I'm working to improve). I've stitched from early childhood and am a perpetual student, loving learning and participating in everything creative.
This entry was posted in General Arts, General fun pursuits, My Creative Pieces, My paper and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The glory of oranges

  1. What gorgeous paper! And how wonderful to live where oranges grow in your garden.

    • Claire B says:

      Thanks Michael. I’m loving experimenting to see how a variety of natural fibres will form paper sheets. A visit to the garden centre has landed me a new supply of fronded plants to cultivate for paper production next year.
      Thanks to your drawing/painting on your own blog (which inspires me) I’ve signed up for a short watercolour class and hope to produce some small studies soon. Meantime I’m looking at how best to draw my Walking Iris, as discussed on your site. I’m feeling very encouraged to have a go even if it’s very approximate. I can only get better, right?

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