HOOVER’S VALLEY — With a little pedal power you could soon transform native and non-native plants into paper.
You might not know it, but here in the Highland Lakes is a bounty of plants with paper potential.
On Jan. 17, Malachi Muncy, an Iraq war veteran and artist, will lead a native fibers workshop from 1-3 p.m. at Inks Lake State Park, 3630 Park Road 4 West.
“This is the first time we’ve ever done this program,” said park interpreter Sean Jones. “This is something we’re doing along with VSA Texas.”
VSA Texas — the State Organization on Arts and Disability — encourages inclusive art projects. The fibers workshop will be in a setting that’s open to anyone, even if they have a disability, at campsite 220, which has handicap parking nearby as well as handicap-accessible restrooms.
But it’s not for just those with disabilities, hence the “inclusive” nature of it.
“It’s for anybody interested in learning how people made paper before you could just go out and buy it in stores,” Jones added.
During the workshop, Muncy will utilize a Hollander beater attached to a bicycle to show people how to make paper from local plant fibers. The Dutch developed the Hollander beater in the 1680s as a way to make paper pulp from plant fibers — particularly the cellulose. At the time, the Hollander beater eclipsed the speed of the previous paper-making methods.
Muncy has even created paper from the dreaded hydrilla that can cause problems in area lakes. But that’s just a start of the paper-producing possibilities.
“We definitely have plants around here we can make paper from,” Jones said.
Along with the workshop, Jones said he’ll likely get a fire going (but not too close to the paper) in the fire pit and even offer up some hot cocoa for folks who attend.
The program is open to 30 people to make sure everybody who attends gets the most out of it. But if you miss this one, Jones said the park will offer additional native fiber workshops in February.
Call (512) 793-2223 for more information or to register. The native fibers workshop is free, but park entrance fees are still required. Go to tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/inks-lake to learn more about the park and upcoming events.