Tudi Billo® Papers – you could say we are the passion for handmade Nepali papers. This passion started in the late 70, beginning of the 80s, when we lived in Nepal and started a small business with handicraft from Asian countries. Since the first small start, we have begun to design our own products from Nepali Paper and since then have done as much as we could think of – but still our imagination sees no boundaries.
Some years back we have re-discovered for us the – not only in Nepal, but as well in Europe - age-old tradition of felting – which brought a lot of ideas as well and worked very well with the paper itself. Today you find a small but very exquisite range of felt products – small pouches, blossoms, flowers, accessories; things no one needs, but cherishes.
All designs are in-house designs by Tudi Billo, which are produced by different producers in the Kathmandu valley. As we love Nepal and have a very long and very special relation to it and its people, we see to fair working standards, as well as quality and environmentally friendly production processes.
Our Lokta paper
Nearly all of the papers from Nepal which we use and sell, are made from the bark of a special mulberry bush. the branches of the bush are being harvested and the bark is peeled of these branches. Within the coming 5-7 years the bush will regrow the branches. The bark is then beaten and cooked until it becomes smooth. After the cooking process the bark is again beaten and nowadays by machine mixed into small pieces – called pulp. This pulp will then be “dissolved“ in a large water tank into which the screen for the sheet is placed – by moving the screen in the water tank the pulp is spread evenly throughout the screen. The screen is slowly removed from the water – the sheet is ready – it will be dried by having the screen exposed to sun light – either in vertical shape – or traditionally in an angle. These things are mostly done in remote villages where the lokta grows and then the plain paper sheets are being transported to Kathmandu, were most of our producers have their companies and where the products are being made.
Our felt items
Felting has a longstanding tradition in rural Nepal - as in most parts of the world. Up to 10, 15 years ago, you would find products from handspun wool (jackets, hats, carpets, blankets). Yet, these items loose ground against the influx of modern textile mass products and had only few admirers elsewhere. When the carpet production becomes slow and slower the felt mass production was started with quite a bit of quality and design help from other countries. They use mainly New Zealand wool
The felt production created many new jobs, mainly for women.
Our felt items are produced in small enterprises with no child labour, and we support fair working conditions and the care for the environmental effects. Tthe designs are made by us, few items we buy from women’s cooperatives.
Our wooden stamps
Our wooden blocks are hand carved in a small family run business in Kathmandu. They are carving them following our designs, using the “waste” material of the furniture makers. The tradition of block making is age old in Nepal and up to today the blocks for the Buddhist prayer books are hand carved. In the beginning our motives were related to Buddhist or traditional Nepalese motives, like Buddhas hands, Eyes or flowers and symbols of the Buddhist / Nepalese culture. Nowadays we mainly offer designs which are inspired by our paper collection… mainly showing animals, flowers, etc.
At the moment we offer fans from Japan, Thailand and Nepal.
The japanese fans are produced in a small famaily business, mostly after traditional excamples, sometimes with modern designs. The quality is excellent as everybody knows the japanese handicraft. They are covered with cloth or paper, to be folded or with bamboo handle.Because the quality is so good we send our papers to Japan to cover fans with our designs.
The fans from Thailand are made of handpainted cloth and to be folded, more simple produced. They are handicrafted in rural areas by women.
Also we let our suppliers produce fans with handles and to be folded in Nepal and they are covered with our paper designs.
We have sent a specialist from Japan to Nepal who explains our suppliers how to produce the frames out of cleaved bamboo.
Furthermore in our range: handicraft items
Childrens clothing and handicraft items from Nepal were the first items we started with at the fairs (1981). Later on carpets followed, and after we had discovered the beautifull paper, we started developping this range further. But this is the reason, why we still keep on selling handicraft, and also because we like the crafts used for these items and we like to support that they are not lost in todays Nepal.
Adding to the range of products from Nepal, and we also have products from India and Thailand. Sometimes we also find nice items in other Asian countries.
Most of the items in this catalogue we „only buy“ from small workshops and companies. Some for example the Mithila works and the recycling works, are from small organisations who support women and/ or do work with fairtrade organisations normally.
Some of the products we change and some we develop based no the materials and designs we find, still we try to keep this range as „traditional“ as possible.