Back to All Events

An Introductory Workshop to Book Binding and Paper Marbling

  • Casa Khalesa Contrada Testa dell'Acqua Noto Italy (map)

Casa Khalesa is proud to announce an introductory workshop to Book-binding and Paper-marbling in association with Scie Center Siracusa, Italy.

The workshop will take place from Saturday 7th to Saturday 14th October 2017.

Programme: 8 days / 7 nights
Number of participants: 15
Programme Fee per Participant: €850
Dates: 7th – 14th October 2017
Application Deadline: 4th August 2017
Language: Course will be conducted in English

Open to all who love beautiful books and bindings, this workshop will give participants first-hand knowledge and experience of making their own marbled paper and creating a book based on a 12th-century English Limp Tawed Skin Binding.

Under the expert guidance of Kate Brett of Payhembury Marbled Papers, Cambridge, participants will first try their hand at trying to reproduce old patterns in the traditional manner, floating water-based paints on a size made from carragheen moss. Then, course tutor Shaun Thompson , Collections Care Manager of Cambridge University Library, and expert in medieval bindings, will help participants recreate Manuscript Pembroke 119 ( Alain de Lille, Anticlaudianus ) which has an exceptional contemporary binding with interesting structural features, including a limp covering of alum-tawed skin, stained red. The covering is further edged with a separate piece of alum tawed skin and was formerly fastened with an alum-tawed strap. An examination, by the tutor, of the sewing which attaches the text-block to the cover has revealed a complex structure that has yet to be recorded. The beautifully executed sewing of all of the elements testify to the sophistication of the craftsmanship of the Romanesque period. Processes will include sewing and covering with alum-tawed skin. The skins will be stained red prior to covering using the appropriate materials and techniques. Complementing the practical aspect of the course, the tutor will seek to set the binding into context.

Participants will be given the opportunity to visit the local library and see examples of historic book production in Sicily.

Course Tutors

Shaun Thompson is a bench trained bookbinder with twenty-five years’ experience. He has worked at Cambridge University Library since 2003. During this time Shaun has taken the opportunity to examine and recreate some of the medieval bindings within the library. He has sought to share his knowledge and skills by teaching a number of practical workshops in the UK and Italy.

Kate Brett of Payhembury Marbled Papers has since 1982 specialises in trying to reproduce some of these old patterns in the traditional manner, floating water-based paints on a size made from carragheen moss. Traditional papers were often highly polished with beeswax and an application of 50% beeswax/50% white spirit on the papers before use is recommended. This enhances the colour as well making them more durable.

Judith Wiesner – After training at the Institute of Art and Restoration in Florence and Camberwell College of Art, she graduated with a distinction in Paper Conservation. In her Suffolk conservation studio, she primarily dealt with books and paper drawings, water colours, prints, documents. Now she lives in Sicily and works in her garden studio, immersed in the quiet of the Sicilian landscape.