The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 7, Number 2
May 1983


Ascona Binder Heim Plans Summer Working Visit

Silvia Rennie brings the news that Edwin Heim, director of the Ascona bindery, would like to spend the summer working on his English and learning how bookbinding is done bore.

He says, "I'd be very pleased if I could work by a bookbinder for some weeks (June/July/August or September 83)--I'm willing to work for board and lodging."

Ms. Rennie says, "If you have Hugo Feller's little brochure ('Atelier fuer handwerkliche Bucheinbaende'), you will find towards the end a few pages about his assistants. One of these is Mr. Heim, and I shall copy out the most important facts:

"Born in 1945; 1960-63 studied bookbinding at arts and crafts school; 1963-66 apprenticed as bookbinder in various binderies; 1976 studied at Ascona; 196B worked with Ole Olsen; 1969 assistant at Ascona, in the bindery; 1970-71 studied at École Estienne, and took evening classes at the Cours superieurs de dessin of Paris. 1972 director of the Ascona bindery; Silver Medal at BDBI competition in Cologne; 1973 exhibition in Ascona; 1974, member of Meister der Einbandkunst; 1975 Gold Medal Prix Paul Bonet; 1975-77 exhibited in the Hague, Ghent, Ascona, Copenhagen; 1977 First Prize in The Hague. Since 1978 working at Ascona....

"Since time is getting short, if anybody would like to contact him (and I am sure he would enjoy working in more than one place), they had best write to him directly:

Mr. Edwin Heim
via Orelli 14
CH 6612 ASCONA, Switzerland"

Talas Moves

Tales has moved to 213 W. 35 Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10001-1996. Telephone: 212/736-7744.

RTSD/LC Seminar for Library Directors Successful

Preliminary reports have it that attendance was good--over 80 directors and associate directors from all kinds of libraries were there, and the room was filled--at the April 29 program at the Library of Congress, entitled "Library Preservation: The Administrative Challenge." A complete report will be published.


Day-Long Session on Paper & Cellulose at AIC

As of May 3, 150 people had already signed up for the Book and Paper Group's special session on the nature and chemistry of paper on Wednesday May 25 at the annual meeting of the American Institute for Conservation in Baltimore. Four invited paper chemists will speak on the nature and chemistry of paper in three sessions, running from 8:30 am to 4:30 or 5:00. The proceedings will be taped. For information on registration, contact the AIC. There are 50 places left. Registration costs $25 extra.

The speakers and their subjects are:

Helen Burgess, Canadian Conservation Institute Dr. C. Eugene Cain, Chemistry Dept, Millsaps College

Chemistry of Cellulose: Chemical structure, brief discussion of lignin, and chemistry of cellulose degradation

John F. Waterhouse, Institute of Paper Chemistry Helen Burgess, CCI

Physical and Chemical Analysis of Paper: Basic physical structure, paper evaluation for conservation purposes, techniques of mechanical evaluation, aging, chemical analysis techniques, and a comparison of accuracy, reproducibility, and equipment needs

Werner Lonsky, Institute of Paper Chemistry Effect of Light on Cellulose -Photobleaching:

Interaction of light with lignin, important considerations in photobleaching and color reversion, and yellowing and photobleaching

Leather Conservation Centre Moves

Earlier this year the Leather Conservation Centre moved its offices from 9 St. Thomas Street in London to:

Leather Trade House
Kings Park Road
Moulton Park
Northampton, NN3 lJD

The Chairman, G. R. White, OBE, writes that "We have now secured support which will enable us to employ a Research Fellow to work in the laboratories of the British Leather Manufacturers' Research Association at Northampton."

Dust Cloths Tested

Michele Cloonan has recently been involved in the testing of two dust cloths: Chicopee Stretch 'n Dust and Guardsman's One-Wipe. The tests, carried out by Walter McCrone and Associates, were designed to demonstrate whether or not these dust cloths left harmful residues on leather, paper or bookcloth. The testing comprised artificial aging, the MIT folding endurance test, and microscopy. The Newberry Library provided the leather and paper samples, and Bill Minter the cloth samples. The results will appear in the next Abbey Newsletter.

PLMS at Midwinter

Susan Swartzburg has furnished notes from the ALA Midwinter meeting of the Preservation of Library Materials Section (PLMS). Since her report will be available in CAN, only a few selections are given here.

Peter Sparks reported that the budget for the phased preservation program has doubled and the Binding and Repair Section will be underway next year. [This probably refers to the two-man repair truck which will soon be working out of the Binding Office under the supervision of Bill Underdue, Assistant Binding Officer. The repair team should have finished over two months of training in the Restoration Office by the time this issue of the Newsletter goes to the printer. They will give priority to heavily-used reference books, and will work at first not in the stacks, but in the Binding Office, using the truck.]

Ann Russell, NEDCC director, gave a brief report and observed that despite the recession, business at the Center is currently thriving. She noted the surge of interest in preservation at the grassroots level.

New Center for Conservation of Oriental. Art

The Trustees of the Upper Midwest Conservation Association, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, have announced the opening of a center for the conservation of Oriental art. The center will specialize in Japanese and Chinese art including screens, paintings, scrolls, and works on paper and silk.

The Mellon Foundation granted $125,000 to set up the center, which will be run by UMCA Director, David Dudley.

The center, in cooperation with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, has prepared an exhibition and videotape to demonstrate the art of Oriental conservation. The video presentation, "Paper and Silk," is available for purchase or rental through The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Arts Resources Department, 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55404.

Where Photographic Conservation Is Taught

Last August Thomas T. Hill, Editor of PhotographiConservation, gave a paper at the SPSE International Symposium on the Stability and Preservation of Photographic Images, entitled "Present Training Programs in Photographic Conservation." An excerpt from it, listing known college-level courses, appears in the December 1982 issue of PhotographiConservation. He says, "While some colleges have more than one course, none have a full program in this field, but may include Photographic Conservation within a general Museum Conservation program. In some cases such courses may not always be offered each year.... Unless a course includes actual laboratory work by each student, we do not consider it sufficient to prepare a conservator."

At the time of the conference, he had received descriptive material from the following institutions:

Fogg Museum, Harvard University
Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
Master's degree program for archivists, Wayne State University, Detroit
Sir Stanford Fleming College, Peterborough, Ontario
Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts in England
School of Conservation of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen

He might have included the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he teaches, too. He mentions several of the teachers, but does not give full addresses of schools.

The Ultimate in Disaster Workshops

From the March ConservatioNews we learn that "Helene Donnelly, a subscriber who is attending the Camberwell School of Art and Crafts in London, read about our disaster workshop [one given by the Arizona Paper and Photograph Conservation Group] and became interested in producing a similar mess. Camberwell, by the way, is one of THE places to study bookbinding and conservation. In a recent letter she writes that on May 8th they will set up a mock library, set it on fire and have it put out by the London Salvage Corps. All of this will be recorded by video cameras, 35 mm cameras and TV cameras. On the following day the participants will view the films and then salvage the damaged materials, once again under the gaze of cameras. Anyone wishing to donate air fare so Michael can attend should contact him immediately." (Michael McColgin is the editor and works at the State Archives in Phoenix.)

New Bookbinding Group in France

A new bookbinding society has been formed in France, writes Claude Boisset [to DB Newsletter]. Unlike La Socié6té de la Reliure Originale, which was and is a rather select body, Lea Amis do la Reliure d'Art is open to all who are interested in fine binding, whether living in France or abroad. Its main aim will be to promote the art of bookbinding and make it appreciated by a wider public by organizing national and international exhibitions, meetings and lectures and publishing a newsletter.

There are three classes of membership: College des Membres Actifa, for collectors, librarians, booksellers etc. who wish to take an active part in the society's activities and pay an annual subscription of 100F; College des Membres d'Honneur for honorary members; and College des Artists for professional binders and designers who pay an annual subscription of 50F.

For more details and membership forms write to Lea Amis de la Reliure d'Art, 34 Rue de Metz, 31000, Toulouse, France.

Québec Bookbinders Organize

On January 25, 1983, L'Association des Relieurs do Québec/The Association of Québec Bookbinders was organized with membership open to all bookbinders and practitioners of related arts. Until officers are elected in January 1984, JoAnn Barlow Hanigsberg and Louise Genest-Côté are serving as voluntary coordinators. The yearly membership fee is $12.00.

The objectives of the association are: to promote interest among the public in the book arts in Quebec; to maintain a high standard of excellence in work done; to bring together workers of common interests to share ideas, and solve problems and develop a spirit of camaraderie.

To this end the association will publish a newsletter [this announcement was taken from v.1 #1], organize three events a year (winter, spring and fall) and organize an annual exhibition in the fall. Address: C.P. 637, Succ. Outremont, Québec, H2V 4N6, Canada.

Working Tips From Québec

The newsletter of the new Québec group includes the following suggestions:

"Instead of pasted cord or rolled paper batons as a core for headbands, try gut cello strings (or viola or even bass for a gross volume). They are smoother than cord and more flexible and permanent than paper, as well as beautifully malleable to the shape of the spine. Thought I thought of this one but no, both Zähnsdorf and E. Diehl recommend it.

"As most of you know, the quality of cords used in sewing is getting poorer year by year. Try buying a cable at a marine supply store--the kind used on ships. Its quality is superior and you can make a cord as thick as you want. Recommended by Don Etherington, Gérard Charrière and Carolyn Horton."

IPC Autumnal Tours, This Year and Next

Autumn 1983. If enough conservators are interested, a tour of the Netherlands to visit conservation workshops and laboratories as well as museums will be organized for October, leaving on a Sunday from Gatwick (airport) in England, and returning there on Friday.

Autumn 1984. With the help of Dr. Roderick Whitfield, Assistant Keeper in the Department of Oriental Antiquities at the British Museum, a 23-day tour of China is being arranged. Tours of conservation workshops in museums, as well as to the centers for the related traditional crafts such as paper-making, brush making, ink and ink-stone manufacture are being organized.

This information is from the March issue of Paper Conservation News, the newsletter of the Institute of Paper Conservation. For prices and other information, contact Jane McAusland, Nether Hall Barn, Old Newton, Stowmarket, Suffolk, 1P14 4PP, England.

Photographs: a New Cold Vault & the Effect of a Fire

Picturescope, the quarterly bulletin of the Picture Division of the Special Libraries Association, has a column on conservation. From the Fall/Winter 1982 issue we learn that:

The Art Institute of Chicago's Department of Photography recently installed a 350-square-foot cold vault designed to store up to 60,000 color prints, slides, and negatives at a constant 00 and 40% humidity. While similar freezer vaults are in use at the Library of Congress, Harvard's Peabody Museum, and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, the Art Institute is the first art museum with a major commitment to photography to build such a facility.

Recently a fire at the Design Conspiracy Color Lab in Oakland, California, destroyed the negatives and prints of many photographers. A survey of these photographers by the Friends of Photography made some interesting discoveries. Most negatives in plastic sleeves and some in metal boxes were destroyed because the containers melted. Negatives in cardboard boxes survived. Glassine sleeves did not melt, but the glue binding them was transferred to the negatives. The glue could be removed, however, by prompt washing. For more information, see the Friends of Photography Newsletter (December 1982). [Note: the address of FPN is not available at this office. Write to Picturescope, P0 Box S0119, F Street Station, Tariff Commission Building, Washington, DC 20004.]

Brighton Bookbinding Symposium in 1984

Plans are being drawn up for an international bookbinding symposium to be held in Brighton, England, at Easter 1984. Some of the world's top binders are being invited to give lectures and practical demonstrations and up to 200 people are expected to attend, making this one of the most important bookbinding events to be held in Europe in recent years. The event is to be held at Brighton Polytechnic, which will be organizing the symposium in association with Designer Bookbinders. In addition it is hoped there will be exhibitions of bookbinding in the faculty of art gallery and at the British Crafts Centre in Covent Garden. Translation of proceedings into French, German, Spanish and Flemish will be furnished for attendees.

Plastic Bubble Wrap Unstable

In the October WCG Newsletter, two West Coast museums report that plastic bubble wrap causes tarnish clouding on silver. This effect is due to a polyvinylidene chloride (Saranwrap) coating applied to the otherwise stable polyethylene sheeting in order to keep air from leaking out of the bubbles. The PVDC is unstable, releasing HCl as it decomposes.

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