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Subject: Workshop on historic bookbindings

Workshop on historic bookbindings

From: Nikolas Sarris <sarris1<-a>
Date: Sunday, April 6, 2008
Workshops on Historic Bindings, Patmos 2008
Monastery of Saint John the Theologian

Patmos, Greece
1-5, September, 2008
8-12, September, 2008
15-19 September, 2008  and
22-26 September, 2008

Deadline for applications:  30 July, 2008

The 11th century Greek Orthodox monastery of Saint John the
Theologian is situated on the island of the Apocalypse, Patmos. It
preserves one of the most important monastic libraries of the
Christian world, containing a wealth of Greek bound manuscripts,
early documents and printed books.

Following the success of the program of workshops organized by the
conservation studio of the monastery in 2006 and 2007, we are
pleased to announce the workshops on historic bindings for 2008.

The conservation workshop of the monastery will be hosting four
5-day long seminars at its premises, during September 2008.

This year, along with 2 practical workshops on historic bookbindings
we have been honoured by the Ligatus Research Unit of Camberwell
College of Art (University of the Arts, London) who will be joining
us to give 2 theoretical courses.

The practical workshops focus on the making of different styles of
historic bindings. The theoretical courses have the subject:
"Identification and recording of bookbinding structures for
conservation and cataloguing" (Ligatus). The aim of the theoretical
classes is to project the information contained in bookbindings of
the 15th-19th centuries through their analytical study.

The first 2 weeks will focus on Western European bookbinding (1 week
of theory and 1 week of practical workshop) and the latter 2 on
Greek-Byzantine bookbinding.

Each of the courses is offered individually, since they are
structured as such, however we feel that students may benefit more
from the program by combining each of the theoretical courses with
its corresponding practical one: Weeks 1 and 2 (Western European
bookbinding) or Weeks 3 and 4 (Greek-Byzantine bookbinding).

The practical workshops offered will be conducted at the book
conservation studio of the monastery. The theoretical courses will
be held at the library of the monastery. The library holds many
original Byzantine and Western bindings, which will be examined by
the students and used to demonstrate the structures being discussed
during the courses, as well as to highlight conservation issues.

The cost of the courses is 520 Euros for each week. For the
practical workshops all materials will be provided, however students
will be asked to bring with them some basic bookbinding tools. The
courses will be given in English.

Classes will be starting at 09.00. There will be a coffee break at
10.30 and a lunch break at 13.00, where students are invited to eat
with the monks at the monastery's refectory.  Classes continue after
lunch until 17.00. After the classes there will be enough time to
explore the island, to visit the cave of the Apocalypse or walk
around the beautiful village of Chora.

The classes are open to 12 individuals (theoretical courses) or 8
(practical workshops) from the fields of book conservation,
bookbinding, librarianship or palaeography and those interested in
the history and the making of the book. Since these are not
beginner-level courses, the participants are expected to be familiar
with bookbinding terminology and have a basic knowledge of the
history of book production in the periods under discussion. Good
bookbinding skills are essential for the practical workshops. A
basic knowledge of databases is also desirable for those who will
attend the course of the fourth week. An analytical schedule of the
theoretical classes is available upon request.

Description of Courses:

Week 1
European Bookbinding 1500 - 1800 (Theoretical course)
Tutor: Professor Nicholas Pickwoad (Ligatus)
1-5 September 2008

    This course will follow European bookbinding from the end of the
    Middle Ages to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, using
    the bindings themselves to illustrate the aims and intentions of
    the binding trade. A large part of the course will be devoted to
    the identification of both broad and detailed distinctions
    within the larger groups of plain commercial bindings and the
    possibilities of identifying the work of different countries,
    cities, even workshops without reference to finishing tools. The
    identification and significance of the different materials used
    in bookbinding will be examined, as well as the classification
    of bookbindings by structural type, and how these types
    developed through the three centuries covered by the course. The
    development of binding decoration will be touched on, but will
    not form a major part of the discussion.

    The course consists of ten 90-minute sessions with slides (over
    800 slides will be shown). Actual examples of bindings are shown
    and discussed to supplement the slides in separate sessions in
    the library of the Monastery of St. John Theologian.

Week 2
Limp and Semi-limp Vellum Bindings (Practical workshop)
Tutor: Flavio Marzo
8-12 September 2008

    Parchment has always been a very popular and versatile material,
    in the history of book making.  It was used in the past mainly
    as a medium for writing but also as a sewing support or for
    spine lining and covering.  In more recent times, it has become
    a material for conservation, mainly used as a covering material,
    due to its stability, strength and flexibility.

    In this 5-day course we will produce some examples of bindings
    where the use of parchment will be the basis of the structures.

    Based on true historical binding structures that originate from
    Italy and the broader geographic area of South-eastern Europe,
    we will produce 3 different long-stitch, limp and semi-limp
    vellum bindings, within the current concepts of conservation.

    Limp and semi-limp book structures have been studied and
    developed by important leading conservators, such as Chris
    Clarkson and Prof. Nicholas Pickwoad.  The Florence flood
    experience of the 1960s gave, during this emergency situation, a
    rare opportunity to study, many different book structures. It
    was apparent that limp structures in paper and parchment were
    the most adaptable and resistant to the devastating effects of
    the flood.  The flexibility of the structure, free from stiff
    and thick layers of glue on the spine and without the hindrance
    of glued leather or parchment boards, gave better protection to
    the text block and resulted in simpler and less invasive
    subsequent conservation treatments.

Week 3
A practical introduction to Byzantine Binding (Practical workshop)
Tutor: John Mumford
15-19 September 2008

    This 5-day course is an introduction to Byzantine bookbinding.
    The model that will be made is based on a 15th centry manuscript
    binding currently housed at the British Library, (Royal.1.A.xv -
    Bible, St. Nilos commentaries). The workshop will include all
    the stages for the completion of the model. Through a series of
    practical demonstrations the student will gain an understanding
    of the construction of a Byzantine binding which will include
    sewing, board preparation, endbands, and covering with leather.
    They will then embellish their bindings with blind tooled
    decoration, drawing on the classic motifs used on historical
    Byzantine bindings, with finishing tools copied from original
    impressions. Finally, they will construct the edge pins and
    laced leather straps.

Week 4
Byzantine Bookbinding and Bookbinding Documentation
(Theoretical course)
Tutors: Dr. George Boodles and Dr. Athanasios Velios (Ligatus)
22-26 September 2008

    This 5-day course will be divided in two interconnected
    sessions. The first session, run by Dr. Georgios Boudalis, will
    focus upon the major structural and decorative features of the
    Byzantine and post-Byzantine bookbindings and their evolution in
    time and space. The relation of these bindings with the early
    bindings of the Coptic and other Eastern Mediterranean cultures
    will also be discussed. This session will consist of eight
    90-minute PowerPoint presentations supplemented by hands-on
    sessions in which original bookbindings from the library of the
    St.John Theologian Monastery will be examined.

    The second session will be run by Dr. Athanasios Velios and will
    deal with the data management and storage of bookbinding
    information. This session is updated this year to include recent
    advancements in the use of XML for recording bookbindings.
    Alongside a brief reference to the relational databases this
    session will mainly involve discussions on (a) the semantic web
    and XML, (b) commercial and open source software options for XML
    documents, (c) job advertising for XML database developers and
    administrators, and (d) long-term preservation of digital XML
    data. A large part of this session will be devoted to the actual
    development and use of an XML schema for recording binding
    details. This session will consist of two 90-minutes
    presentations and eight 90-minutes hands-on workshops, at the
    end of which the students will have the chance to record
    bookbindings from the library of the Monastery using the XML
    schema that they created. Basic knowledge of database use is
    desirable for this course.

Applications for the courses should be made by email to Nikolas
Sarris <info<-a t->patmosworkshop< . >com> with the subject "Patmos
Bookbinding Workshops 2008". The applicant must state the course/s
he/she is interested in attending as well as a short biography,
showing relevant experience with the subjects of the courses.

For more information please visit


or contact:

    Nikolas Sarris
    Supervisor of Book Conservation Studio
    St. John Theologian Monastery
    Patmos, Greece
    info<-a t->patmosworkshop< . >com

                  Conservation DistList Instance 21:53
                   Distributed: Monday, April 7, 2008
                       Message Id: cdl-21-53-004
Received on Sunday, 6 April, 2008

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