We were delighted to discover four wild orchids in the meadow this year! They don't look like much until you see them close up and then you see the detail:
Progressing with Bookbinding
with Jim MacWilliams
Everyone was so pleased, and I think justifiably impressed, that they were able to do so much during the three days they spent with Jim learning new bookbinding techniques. Building on the basic skills learnt during the beginners' course, everyone made one hardback book with a thesis style cloth binding and one library style cloth case-bound book, and then carried out simple spine repairs on older books. They also learnt the art of embossing so their hardback books were beautifully embossed.
We'd like to thank Simon and Sally for the photographs:
'We had a fantastic time. Jim is an inspirational teacher and great fun to spend 3 days with.'
'Jim MacWilliams - a lovely Scottish Genius Bookbinder.'
Limp Vellum Binding
with Glenn Malkin
Vellum is a beautiful material, and has been used by bookbinders for hundreds of years. It's often confused, by those who haven't used it, with parchment. Both are the result of very carefully prepared animal skins. French sources tend to define velin (vellum) as from calf only, while the British Standards Institution defines parchment as made from the split skin of several species, and vellum from the unsplit skin. Modern practitioners of writing, illuminating, lettering and bookbinding use the term 'vellum' when referring to calf skin, and 'parchment' when skins from other animals have been used. They are both prepared by bleaching and are then cleaned of hair before being stretched on a frame ('a herse') so that they can be further cleaned by scraping with a crescent-shaped knife (a 'lunarium' or 'lunellum'). Once the skin is dry it is treated by 'pouncing', covering the surface with pounce powder (usually made from finely ground cuttlefish bone) to ensure the ink adheres to the surface.
As you can imagine, with all the work involved in producing them, both vellum and parchment are now very expensive so Glenn brought with him some lovely old vellum legal 'papers' - indentures, wills etc. - all beautifully inscribed. They did need some further preparation to make them work for binding and then the book blocks were sewn, incorporating leather thongs, the headbands tied, the vellum covers made and the whole secured together with the thongs. It may all sound very easy but it wasn't! There was a great deal of skill involved in each of the separate processes. And, of course, a good time was had by all.
Here are some of the photos from the course. The two books produced by the end were really beautiful - great examples of vellum limp binding.