March 1, 2010
Maya Romanoff looks to traditional Himalayan artisanship for its latest wallpaper collection.
When Joyce Romanoff, president of Maya Romanoff, recently visited a papermaking factory in Nepal, she was immediately drawn to the texture and artisanship of a handmade paper called lokta. The paper, which has been used in Buddhist prayer books for centuries, is the product of an ancient process and now serves as the inspiration for Meditations, the company’s new wall-coverings collection.
Lokta is made from daphne, an indigenous green plant that grows in the Himalayan region. To turn the plant into paper, locals mash its bark into a pulp using runoff from mountain streams. After soaking in water and ash to soften, the material gets boiled and placed into a beater. Once the pulp reaches the proper consis-tency, a frame is dipped into it, and the resulting paper panels are air-dried. (The water, a particularly precious resource in that part of the world, is recycled.)
The Meditations collection features two patterns: Ohm, a textured design composed of about a thousand circular holes per yard, made one at a time with chop-sticks in an irregular honeycomb pattern; and Mantra, a subtle, less textured coordinate. “The handmade quality of the paper means there are some inconsistencies within the paper itself, something we love,” says Romanoff, adding that part of the proceeds will be donated to Aid to Artisans. “The covering is very calming and earthy—something that will resonate on your walls of your surroundings.”
The wall-coverings are durable and install well with low-VOC paste.
Handmade Nepalese lokta paper, embedded with flecks of mica on a paper backing with formaldehyde-free glue. The two patterns are Mantra (a universal neutral) and Ohm (in eight earthy tones). Custom colors are available.
The installations are designed for a variety of uses, from hospitality to residential interiors.