Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Creating a Design with Leather Inlays

A micrometer is useful to find leathers that are a similar thickness, and a paper lining can also be used to increase the thickness when the difference is too great. Begin by lining the board. I then took a piece of red leather and cut it to the same size as board the that I wanted to cover. A second piece of leather is then placed over the section to be cut out, and held firmly in place with masking tape. This allows an exact fit to be created between the two shapes, as only one cut is used to slice through both leathers. 

Cutting through two sections of                     Adhering the leather to the board
                          leather at the same time

  Once the basic design has been cut out, the pieces can then be glued to the board, starting at one edge and slotting the shapes in together like a jigsaw, one at a time. A thin layer of glue should be applied to the edges, as well as to the underside of the leather. Using fingers, ensure that everything lines up and connects perfectly. Then press the covered board for a short time.

                           Adding additional inlays                                    Using a template 

 After the board has been lightly pressed, further inlays can be added. Hold leather sections in place (again with masking tape) and cut through both layers at the same time. To create more complex shapes, like circles which can not so easily be formed with free-hand, a template can be used to guide the skalpel blade. Gold tooling can also create a nice finishing touch.

And the final design:


Thursday, 4 February 2016

Conserving the Perranzabuloe Scrapbook

This has been a fantastic project that came into the studio from the Perranzabuloe Museum in Perranporth, Cornwall. The book had been previously used as a time book by the mysterious 'Riviere Mine' of which no record can be found, but is likely to have been around the Riviere area of Hayle, if it ever even existed - there was much speculation in the mining business in the 19th century and so it is possible the stationery was ordered before the mine actually opened. The stationary binding has been used however by someone, to record figures, and later was revamped by a member of the Tremewan Family local to Perranporth. 

 It is a delightful and thorough recording of the history of the town and its inhabitants in the 1800s; with personal reports of the marriages, births and deaths, along with the weird and wonderful from the wider world in the form of newspaper clippings, postcards, early Christmas cards, song sheets et al !

 The scrapbook was not in a very good state upon arrival - the compiler had rather too enthusiastically filled the binding which was then bursting at the 'seams' causing the sewing to mostly break, the protruding textblock to become very damaged, and some pages to have gone astray.

 The first job was to document the location of all of the (mostly unnumbered) pages, including loose pages that had been returned to a wrong place in the textblock. With some detective work, it was possible to correctly assemble the pages and number each in pencil.

 There was so much that could be done to treat the scrapbook, and time / budget was limited, so first of all a plan of action had to be put together, deciding exactly to what degree each stage of conservation needed to be carried out to. The binding was damaged and ineffective, the textblock pages were very damaged, and the ephemera adhered in was also damaged and detaching in many places.  It was decided to prioritise the binding and pages, ensuring the functionality of the binding and to stop any further loss or damage of the object, and only to treat the most severely damaged inserted material.

 First of all the scrapbook was surface cleaned, which needed to be repeated throughout the treatment, as dirt would 'hide' beneath adhered material, and only later slip out once a page was turned. Since the textblock was far to large for the binding, it was decided to cut the leather joints and the pastedowns in order to release the textblock. The partly broken sewing was cut, and the large job of repairing pages and ephemera began. All sections were then guarded.

 As the head of the book was substantially thicker than the tail (due to the uneven distribution of material) a solution was needed. Lizzie came up with the idea to use melinex as compensation guards. This was necessary as the writing / material was adhered right into the gutter and so it was important not to cover up information. The guards were made each with two strips of 36 micron melinex that ran the whole length of the textblock, and then inside a thicker 75 micron melinex that only spanned the area of the spine that needed bulking up. The textblock was protected from the edges of the thicker melinex by having the softer, outer one protruding beyond the inner layers. These compensation guards were then placed in between the section and the whole textblock sewn up. This technique worked very well to even out the textblock and ensure that all information from the pages was still available to the viewer.

 The spine was gently rounded and then lined with Japanese paper adhered with EVA. Subsequent layers of hahnemuhle, and two layers of alumed tawed skin were then added and sanded to provide the spine with sufficient support and to smooth out the lumps and bumps. The boards were readhered with aerocotton and the tapes inserted into the boards. Corners were rebuilt using wheat starch paste and cords, and covered with a reverse, toned calf leather to match the very worn, 'furry' original leather. The leather was consolidated with Cellugel.

 The book was rebacked using a toned calf skin, and the original leather spine piece readhered. Inner cloth joints had previously been sewn into the textblock and were pasted beneath the pastedowns to finish off the treatment.

 The uneven nature of the book meant the some inserts were protruding beyond the boards, and so a cover was created using book cloth lined with archival paper, with strips of museum board added to the cover along the foredges of the boards so that the pages are protected.

 Finally, a box was made to house this lovely book, and recommendations were made for the display in the museum. The plan is to turn a page each day so that visitors can get a real impression of life in Perranporth the the 1800s.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Article published in Icon News!

An article that I wrote about conserving large architectural plans on tracing paper has been published in the latest edition of Icon News (January 2016). I published a similar version of the article on the blog which can be read here: http://www.corinnehenderson.co.uk/2015/05/conserving-large-architectural-plans-on.html

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

A joyous Christmas to you all! & Many thanks for visiting my blog this year. This lovely late 1890s Christmas card comes from a book I've been working on recently.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Making a Tiny Bonefolder

 Tools are so important and personal, and there's no better way to feel a connection with a tool than to have made or modified it yourself... 

  I've spent the last few weeks slowly, slowly making my own tiny bonefolder. I had an oversized bonefolder that I never seemed to use and so I took to it with a hacksaw, making three smaller sections. Then with a very coarse sandpaper (I did not have a rasp) I've been working it down into a shape that I liked (on the left in the right hand picture). I finished it off with a very fine sandpaper, and a good rub with my apron. It's working a treat!