What Is Khandroling Paper Cooperative?

Khandroling Paper Cooperative was a cooperative venture of artists inspired by Tibetan Dzogchen master, Chögyal Namkahi Norbu (1938-2018) that seeks to create handmade paper from native fibers and recycled sacred texts.

Khandroling Paper Cooperative as a sustainable arts community of mostly artist yogins creates opportunities for experimentation and artistic collaboration.  The purpose of the cooperative is to provide revenue to community projects such as The Mirror, Khandroling Development and low-income member practitioners who sell their handmade paper products. The cooperative also seeks to create a bridge for people to connect to the Dzogchen teachings and Tibetan arts through public educational workshops. Workshops open to the public are scheduled year-round to introduce papermaking techniques and the  “Critter,” our Hollander beater ordered from New Zealand, that makes pulp from rags like old prayer flags and katas and recycled sacred texts. Through educational programs and open studios, the paper cooperative seeks to celebrate the Himalayan arts of papermaking and the art of calligraphy and other practices that use handmade paper. 

Chogyal Namkhai Norbu with Tibetan singers
Photos by Jacqueline Gens, 2014

A Brief History of Khandroling Paper Cooperative

 In February 2012, a few of us at Tsegyalgar East in Conway, MA began experimenting in the basement of the yellow schoolhouse with low-tech techniques to make hand made paper. We are currently undergoing further training and conversation with professional hand papermakers in the area and hope to establish a professional studio by 2013. In May of 2012 we held our first walkabout on upper Khandroling to locate native fibers for our papermaking. Our efforts have been met with enthusiasm and strong encouragement including Rinpoche who remarked when asked if we could create a Khandroling Paper Cooperative:

 The project you are proposing seems very interesting. I think it will be successful and become very useful for all our Dzogchen Community.” 

Papermaking is an ancient art that sustains many cultures across the globe. We hope that it can also sustain our modest efforts to develop a cooperative with our most sacred land, Khandroling, by growing and harvesting native plants and flowers to transform into beautiful paper. Among products we are working to develop are paper-clay for traditional Tsa-Tsa making, Western style art papers and books,  traditional Tibetan protective doorway and other specialized mantras in gold or silver leaf calligraphy on papers prepared with sacred substances.   

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