Conervation Bindings in Paper

Last week I attended an excellent workshop at the National Archives Dublin with Tracey Rowledge on Conservation Bindings in Paper. I had taken a course on gold tooling with Tracey while at West Dean College and found that I really appreciated her take on bookbinding and conservation. She comes from a fine art background and was trained in bookbinding at Guildford College prior to its closing. She has managed to combine her art and bookbinding skills to create extraordinary fine bindings that incorporate conservation techniques.

The binding we learned on her course allowed you to create the covers and sew the textblock in one go, making the structure quick to make as well as stable (and without any adhesive!).

Cover cut and textblock in place ready to sew

Basically she has incorporated the cover into the structure by using it as the sewing tapes. Once sewn the long strip of paper left is folded to create the front and back covers.

View of spine with textblock sewn around paper tapes

One of the strengths of this binding is that it opens flat making it ideal for use by readers. It could also be used as a stable temporary binding thanks to its lack of adhesive.

Completed binding with view of tabs slotted into place

At the end of the course Tracey emphasized the fact that learning this sewing structure should be seen as a starting point or a point of reference we can use in tweaking or creating other new structures with similar purposes. One of the main questions I had about the structure was whether or not it could be made using parchment, a material that would give added strength and durability to the binding. Hopefully in the coming weeks I will have the time to explore this possibility. I will be sure to share what I come up with.

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