British Library Centre for Conservation (BLCC) Summer workshops
'Twined end-bands in the bookbinding traditions of the Eastern Mediterranean’
Dates: Monday 23rd to Friday 27th July 2018
Full price: £400, no concessions
Location: Foyle Conference Centre British Library Centre for Conservation (BLCC)
Class size: Maximum 12 participants
Level: Our workshop is designed for conservators and bookbinders with good understanding and hands on experience in making/sewing book end-bands.
Although beautiful to look at and interesting to reproduce end-bands have much more to tell about their provenance, their evolution, their purpose and their relation with other crafts.
Twined end-bands often also called woven end-bands represent a distinct category of rather elaborate compound end-bands commonly found in one variation or the other in virtually all the bookbinding traditions of the Eastern Mediterranean.
The aim of this 5-day practical course is to demonstrate and clarify the characteristics of these end-bands and explain their basic technical and decorative variations. Over the curse of the week participants will be able to make at least five different twined end-bands –a Coptic, an Islamic, a Syriac, a Byzantine, an Armenian, and a tablet woven end-band to be taken away at the end of the course.
An introductory lecture will explain their evolution in time and place, their classification and terminology, their structural and decorative features as well as their relation to fabric-making techniques. Working materials, a hand out with explanatory drawings and some reading material will be also provided.
Our workshop is led by
Dr. Georgios Boudalis, Head of Book and Paper Conservation at the Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki, Greece.
Tea, coffee and registration
Theoretical and technical introduction.
Morning session: Introductory lecture on end-bands, their history and function within the
evolution of historical book structure, with special focus on twined end-bands.
Afternoon session: Hands-on exploring the basic technique of twining and its structural and
The day is dedicated to a very simple Coptic and an Islamic twined end-band, the later representing probably the type of twined end-band most people are familiar with.
Morning session: Coptic split-twined end-band.
Afternoon session: Islamic twined end-band.
As participants are becoming more familiar with twining they work on more complicated types of twined end-bands found on closely related binding traditions. Although these end-bands are structurally identical they greatly differ in decorative patterns.
Morning session: Syriac twined end-band.
Afternoon session: Byzantine twined end-band
The day is dedicated to what is possibly the most complicated and time consuming twined endband - that found in Armenian bindings.
Morning session: Armenian end-band
Afternoon session: continue
The final day is dedicated to the use of the ancient technique of tablet weaving to make a twined end band. This type of end-band, identified only recently and found in 15th-16th-century Russian and Byzantine bindings, is a good example how fabric-making techniques were adapted for making the end-bands in books.
Morning session: The tablet-woven end-band
Afternoon session: continue
Georgios Boudalis is the head of the book and paper conservation laboratory at the Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki/Greece. He has worked in various manuscript collections primarily in monasteries such as those of Mount Athos and Sinai. He has completed his PhD in 2005 on the evolution of Byzantine and post-Byzantine bookbinding and has published on issues of bookbinding history and manuscript conservation. His main interests are the evolution of bookbinding techniques in the Eastern Mediterranean and since 2006 he has been teaching courses on the history of Byzantine and related bookbinding both on a historical and practical basis. He is the curator of the exhibition ‘The Codex and Crafts in late Antiquity’ held in Bard Graduate centre, N.Y. between February and June 2018 and has written a monograph with the same title to accompany this exhibition, published by Bard Graduate Centre.
Previous skills, knowledge or experience
The course is addresses to both book conservators and bookbinders, it is meant to be intensive and therefore participants are required to have previous practical experience of the subject.
Equipment and Wi-Fi
All materials and tools will be provided.
Certificate of attendance signed by British Library’s representative and course tutor will be issued at the end of the five day workshop.
Facilities and refreshments
The British Library offers a variety of options for tea/coffee and food available on site and it is conveniently located within London with easy reach to other facilities.
Food can also be taken into the British Library from home and consumed at the premises.