world's longest sheet of paper
On 29th August, 2013, Maria Luisa Guerra, Chairwoman of the Painter’s Association Luis Feito and Augusto Fernández de Avilés, Paper Manufacturer from the Meirat Paper Mill, signed the Challenge in the Town of Rascafría-Oteruelo to make the longest sheet of handmade paper ever.
For the following 36 days, an efficient Team consisting of little more than a dozen Volunteers from both Organisations and also some neighbours and friends, dedicated themselves to achieving from scratch what was to become the success of this Challenge.
Together with the Blacksmiths from Rascafria, the 20 metre long and half a metre wide structure was designed and built, inheriting almost 40 years experience from the Meirat Paper Mill, which has made sheets of paper of up to 2 x 2 metres in Nepales and Thai style. This style was widespread over all of Asia from the beginning of paper making, around the first century before Christ.
In a record time of 24 days, the first test was carried out: Sunday 22nd of September, after hard and exhausting work to tighten and manually sew the mesh to the aluminium structure, a first test sheet was made. This was a success: both the materials and the dozen Volunteers passed the test and set the path for the grand Challenge on 5th October.
As well as preparing the paper utensils and materials, other Volunteers were collecting funds amongst neighbours and friends, individuals and businessmen and women to cover the expenses; others worked on preparing a set with colours which would admit everyone who wished to form part of the joy of this Celebration to try amongst all of us to achieve a World Record: logos were designed to express the ideals of this Challenge: team work in order to manage to create new ideas and make them real amongst friends, with people we know, with strangers, with new dreams and hopes.
But… why so much effort? We are in a mountainous region which until recently was known as the “Poor Mountain Range of Madrid”, where jobs are hard to find, some infrastructures are insufficient, … where each village has ignored others, far from the big cities like Segovia and Madrid.
Despite being a natural Paradise only one hour away from almost 6 million people and despite having been declared a National Park a few months ago, no projects exist of the scope needed to manage the present and improve the future.
Despite possessing more tan 650 years of well documented history on the manufacturing of handmade paper from El Paular Mill, managed by the Scala Dei and Carthusian Order, today there is nothing left to recall those years, trades, the coming and going of carts bringing old rags and taking recently made sheets of paper.
The documentation related to those six centuries is kept on the bookshelves in the National Historic Archives and other Institutions.
The Lozoya Valley possesses one of the most amazing high mountain landscapes in the Iberian Peninsula, but the History of handmade paper is possibly the most important resource to be valued and the one which could be the agglutination and the catalyst of a new way of looking at things.
Choosing to break the Record for the Longest Sheet of Paper in the World was not a whim nor coincidental but rather has a well defined aim: to start to reveal the Valley’s paper History and make it available to everyone, from now onwards.
The response of nearly 2.000 Volunteers y Visitors who on 5th October, 2013 inundated the streets of Oteruelo with joy is clear: it proved that there are a large number of people willing to bet on a different way of doing things, a lot of people ready to pull their sleeves up, to make a Team, to do a job well so it lasts. A lot of people who want to begin to write the future in the first person, from today.
The success obtained on 5th October, 2013, just 36 days after having signed the Challenge guarantees moreover that we can repeat the Celebration we have created in years to come, whereby we will try to hold the World Record for the World’s Longest Sheet of Handmade Paper.
Because …… together… we can do it..!!