Upcoming Workshop: The Conservation of Leather Bookbindings

In this variant of sewing support extensions that I came up with,  new thread is carefully looped in signatures and under or through existing cords, without having to lift the leather on the spine.  Unlike joint tacketing, this method does not restrict the movement of the book spine at the shoulder.

 

I’ll be teaching this week long workshop for at Notre Dame University, South Bend, Indiana, March 9-13, 2020. The workshop will be devoted to a wide variety of contemporary book conservation techniques to deal detached boards, arguably the most common place books fail. There was much lively and informative discussion when I taught this two years ago at Emory University, and plenty of demonstrations and hands-on work time. The workshop details forty-six methods — although many are combined in practice — organized into five basic groups.

This workshop is offered through the American Institute of Conservation. More info and registration here.

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In this week-long intensive workshop, students will be introduced to a wide variety of current techniques used to conserve leather bookbindings. Book conservators, technicians, and bookbinders who wish to learn, expand, refresh their treatment skills are all welcome. Previous bookbinding or conservation experience is required.

Detached boards are the most common place leather bookbindings fail, and all five of the primary methods of treating this will be taught: mechanical sewing extensions and tacketing, inner hinge repairs, outer hinge repairs, interior-board repairs (both splitting and slotting), and several styles of rebacking. Many treatments involve a combination of these techniques. Questions concerning methods of consolidating older leather, the archival qualities of modern leather, and leather dyes will be discussed. A variety of methods to pare, consolidate, and lift leather will be introduced. Since a sharp knife is crucial to success in leather work, sharpening and easy ways to maintain a sharp edge will also be taught.

Participants should bring six to eight non-valuable leather bound books to practice on. It would be best to have a mix of tightback and books with hollows, and avoid case bound books. Skills to be learned include leather paring with a knife and paring machine, how various tools and machines for leather paring including a modified 151 spokeshave, and how to choose an appropriate lifting knife or tool for the task at hand.

There will be individual consultations with students before the workshop to discuss potential treatments for their chosen books, and determine if extra materials or tools might be required. Decision making based on the actual books brought to the class will be foundational.

The primary goal of this workshop is to equip participants with a more nuanced understanding of the pros and cons of currently practiced leather conservation techniques, gain supervised experience while performing them, and feedback when they are completed.

Upcoming Workshop. Cloth Case Bindings: Their History and Repair. October 24-28, 2016. Georgia Archives, Morrow, Georgia

CLOTH CASE BINDINGS: THEIR HISTORY AND REPAIR

October 24-28, 2016

Instructor: Jeff Peachey

Georgia Archives, Morrow, Georgia.

For almost 200 years, the cloth case binding has been the standard way publishers issue books. Throughout the nineteenth century, and even into the twentieth, it was often derided by bibliophiles as a temporary structure, not a ‘real’ book. However, it has proved to be a remarkably durable structure, now commonly used by conservators when rebinding books, by fine small press publications, and in library binding.  Quite likely, there are more cloth cased books than any other rigid board book structure on earth. 

This 5-day workshop will investigate the history of the cloth case binding, concentrating on the early years, 1825-1850. We will parse historic texts that describe this structure, while paying close attention to the introduction of four key pieces of machinery: the rolling press, the board shear, the guillotine, and the stamping press. Boards bindings will be considered as an industrial precursor to the cloth case, and we will make a structural model following a technical description from Cowie’s 1828 The Bookbinder’s Manual. By focusing on historic techniques, this workshop will also serve as introduction or refresher to the essential bookbinding hand-skills. Additionally, we will explore options for conserving and repairing cloth cased books by working on actual books provided by participants. Treatment options presented will include recasing, cloth rebacking, tissue repairs, hinge repairs, and boxing. Basic paper repairs, techniques of toning tissue and cloth, spine lining considerations, and the lifting of fragile material will be addressed. Discussions will include treatment decision making in relationship to specific institutional needs or the desires of private clients.

This workshop is open to all levels of experience: pre-program students, technicians, and mid-career conservators who desire a full time week at the bench. Ideally, a variety of participant experience levels will result in an invigorating exchange of information on binding techniques, institutional protocols, and treatment approaches.  Students should bring 5-10 non-valuable cloth cased books that can be sacrificed or repaired, and basic bookbinding tools.

Students should submit a resume and a brief one paragraph application statement, reviewing their background in bookbinding, book conservation, or other crafts, and stating what they hope to learn.

Workshop Fee: $650 which includes materials.

Application deadline: July 15, 2016.

The application, or questions about the facilities/ housing options/ transportation (Morrow is close to Atlanta) should be sent to Kim Norman: Kim <dot> Norman <at> usg <dot> edu

Other questions about the class should be sent to me.

Historic Book Structures for Conservators Workshop, 2015

I’m really excited about this summers Historic Book Structures for Conservators, which will be held at The Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library. July 1-31, 2015. This is a fantastic opportunity for serious students and professional conservators who want to eat, drink, live and breath historic book structures for an uninterrupted month. The icing on the cake— no tuition!

HISTORIC BOOK STRUCTURES FOR CONSERVATORS

This month long course is designed to refine basic bookbinding bench skills and to explore historic book structures in the context of the conservation of books as historic artifacts. It will be held at The Winterthur <http://www.winterthur.org&gt;, a museum, garden and library consisting of 1,000 acres of rolling meadows, gardens and woodlands. The focus will be on books bound in-boards from the 16th through 19th centuries. Readings in bookbinding history, researching book structures and creating models of historic structures are the basis of the course. Class presentations, several written essays and an independent project are required. This course is intended for pre-program through mid-career participants who are passionate about book conservation. Class size is limited.

Application requirements include a personal statement on the relavence of this class to your work and career, a portfolio of bookbinding or book conservation treatments that exhibits attention to detail, and a recommendation from a professional in the conservation or preservation field. Students will receive a full scholarship for tuition and can live on the the grounds of the Winterthur for nominal charge. International applications are encouraged. Students will have to supply their own hand tools, pay travel expenses, food, and a materials fee. Students will have 24/7 access to the workshop and a graduate level conservation library.

This class is intended to develop bookbinding skills, work on a portfolio for graduate school or job applications, or even for mid-carrear conservators wishing to recharge their batteries.

HOW TO APPLY

I will need four things from you.

1) A one page personal statement on your interest in book history/ book conservation and how this class will help you in your career.

2) Your resume or cv.

3) A portfolio of bookbindings and/ or book conservation treatments that exhibits hand skills and attention to detail. This can be submitted in person if you live near NYC, online or you can send me the images. They need to be at a high enough resolution to evaluate craft skills. You should submit three books, with one or two overall shots and one or two details of each. Please include a one paragraph description of the piece or treatment: when you did it, how it was made, materials, techniques, and other information you would like to include.

4) A letter of recommendation from a professional in the conservation or preservation field, or a teacher who is familiar with your work.

After reviewing the above material, finalists will be interviewed by telephone or Skype. Please contact me if you have any questions.

The deadline for application is March 15, 2015.

Decisions regarding acceptance will be made by April 1, 2015.

The class will be held July 1-31, 2015 at the The Wintertour, Delaware, USA.