Book conservation and repair workshop: intermediate and higher

Course Dates: 04/05/22 - 20/07/22
Time: 18:00 - 21:00
Location: Keeley Street
Ideal if you have some bookbinding conservation experience and want to develop your skills further by working on your own projects with advice and guidance. Each term will include demonstrations that focus on a different aspect of book conservation.
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Full fee £349.00 Senior fee £279.00 Concession £213.00

This course has now started

Course Code: VD247

Full Wed, eve, 04 May - 20 Jul '22

Duration: 12 sessions (over 12 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This is one of three short courses which teach conservation methods for paper (VD245), cloth (VD246) and leather bound books (VD247). These courses are aimed at learners with some basic experience in bookbinding or book conservation and will comprise instruction on a range of conservation techniques including archival housing for bindings. The courses cover both the theory and practice of book conservation and students will, through practical exercise, gain the skills and experience to be able to conserve and repair their own items. Students are expected to provide their own books on which to work.

What will we cover?

- Different leather binding styles
- Leather degradation characteristics
- In-situ repair of leather bindings using Japanese paper
- Different endpapers and ways of attaching boards
- Spine lining
- Repair of text-blocks and covers using various materials
- Sewing and re-casing/binding options
- Leather paring
- Leather re-backing
- Making a drop-back box.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Describe three principle styles of leather bindings
- Identify calf and goat skin
- Identify typical degradation characteristics of leather
- Name some characteristics of degraded leather bound books
- Explain a practical conservation approach appropriate for the type of damage to a book
- Use learned skills to restore leather covered boards and damaged pages.
- Conserve a leather-bound book with a variety of materials including animal skin, Japanese tissue and Western paper.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is an intermediate course for individuals wishing to expand and develop their book conservation skills. Some previous bookbinding and book conservation experience is required. This means a basic knowledge of: book structures, binding styles, how book materials deteriorate; damage characteristics, and repair options. You should be familiar with the terminology used, and have a reasonable level of confidence and dexterity in handling materials and tools.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Weekly topics follow the linear aspects of book conservation, from damage assessment through various treatment options to completion of work. Each student will work on their own items. There will be demonstrations, and one-to-one practical teaching.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You should provide a book(s) to work on, and have this/these available at the beginning of the course. The bindery is equipped with most of the specialist tools, but you will be expected to use your own hand tools and come equipped with a range of tools including:

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• knives (scalpel, utility or craft and leather paring) and spare blades
• brushes in a range of sizes
• a steel rule or straight edge with measured increments
• pair of dividers
• pair of tweezers
• large and small bone folders.
• craft scissors or shears of reasonable quality
• paring knife

The class has some materials which may be bought and you will be given guidance for providing your own.

Need art supplies? Our partner London Graphic Centre has everything you need from pencils to printing services, at 15% off.
To get an LGC discount card, students will need to show proof/ confirmation of enrolment of them being a student at City Lit. You can apply for our card in-store or by simply emailing with a scan or photo of relevant confirmation. The student discount does not apply to products that are already discounted or on offer. More information can be found here-

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

- VD204 Book conservation: vellum
- VD316 Wooden boarded binding
- VD434 Bradel binding
- VD338 Paper marbling.

Gavin Moorhead

Gavin Moorhead is a professional book conservator and conservation teacher. He is a Design graduate from RMIT and worked as a Graphic Designer before changing direction to take up a career in Conservation. Gavin says he became dissatisfied with consumerist creativity after becoming enlightened by conservation. Combining new aspiration with his passion for books, he trained in conservation techniques at the State Library of Victoria and went on to work on some of the most iconic items in cultural collections around the world. He came to the UK to pursue further opportunities and now, more than 30 years on, he is a senior conservator and conservation team leader at the British Library Centre for Conservation. In becoming a tutor in book conservation and bookbinding, Gavin sought to articulate the ethics of Conservation and to train students in the fundamental skills. After 10 years teaching at City Lit, he continues to enlighten and nurture aspiring book menders and makers.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.