August 11, 2010

Review of Limp Vellum Binding Workshop

Janice Healy
Aloha, Oregon

Don Etherington's class on vellum binding was held in Eugene, Oregon on 9 April 2010. It was held at the University of Oregon in their conservation lab. We each were asked to bring a pre-folded un-sewn text block of any paper of our choice. I found some lovely archival paper made with banana fibers at our local office supply store.

The first part of the day was spent sewing our text block on split alum tawed leather thongs. This was a new experience for me so I was pretty slow at it, but got it done and really liked the look and the process. Then he taught us how to sew the endbands. I found that to be the most fun and really quite easy once one gets the hang of it. In the past when trying to read the directions on how to sew endbands they looked really hard to do, but they are not.

We then made our covers out of vellum. I didn't know vellum could be so thick and hard to bend/fold until I got my piece. The vellum that I had worked on in the past was very thin and even in thickness, where this vellum was uneven in thickness and in one place scoring with a bone folder just didn't make it want to bend. I was wishing for a vise, a board and a hammer at one point. Eventually I did get it bent into shape. This vellum reminded me more of rawhide because of its stiffness; the color is lovely and it should last forever due to its thickness.

Once all the measuring and the folding was done we measured some more to figure out where to punch the holes to bring the thongs through to attach the text block to the cover.

I really enjoyed working with Don because he tells it like it is. I misunderstood what he meant at one point and he told me so in no uncertain words. He then showed me how I was supposed to have done it and I went back and corrected it. I liked that, as I like to be told when I make a mistake and how to do it right.

Myself, I would have liked an extra day to do this class in as I felt rather rushed because there was so much to get done in such a short time. I tend to be a perfectionist and I like to take my time to get it right the first time. So I didn't get my book done in class,but when I came back for Don’s lecture on the 13th it was finished and he said I had done a good job on it.

Don Etherington demonstrates the sewing of endbands to attentive students

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