Maternity Leave Announcement

I’m delighted to announce that my husband and I are expecting our second child at the end of May!

As I expect to be going on maternity leave around the end of April, I’m afraid I’m now unable to accept further work in order for me to complete current projects in time.

In the meantime, I am happy to accept enquiries by email, (, and to provide free advice via email. I hope I may be able to help you further when I return to work approximately early in 2017.

Thank you!

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Next Talk; ‘An Introduction to Paper Conservation’, 23rd February 2016

I’m really looking forward to giving my next talk, ‘An Introduction to Paper Conservation’ as it will not only be to a group of skilled bookbinders but also it’ll be within the beautiful 19th century surroundings of the Literary and Philosophical Society, (‘Lit and Phil’), the largest independent library outside of London, in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The talk will be delivered to the northern members of the Society of Bookbinders, a national charity who are devoted to training and education in the art and craft of bookbinding. Nationwide, the charity delivers excellent talks and workshops so if you are a keen bookbinder and haven’t yet checked them out, I recommend browsing their website to find your local group. Non-members are also allowed to attend talks so please do contact them to book your place and come along on Tuesday 23rd February at 6pm.

Hope to see you there!

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Friends of the Laing talk

It was a full house at yesterday’s talk, ‘An Introduction to Paper Conservation’ which I presented to 70 Friends of the Laing members at the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle.

Thank you to everyone who came to hear me and for all your very positive feedback afterwards. I hope everyone went away with lots of useful advice on how to look after your own paper items in the home. Often, simple and inexpensive steps can make a major difference.

I also had a little time before the talk to visit the current ‘The Arts and Crafts House: Then and Now’ exhibition organised by Compton Verney. It was wonderful and I’d definitely recommend it!

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An Impressive Italian Library!

I’ve been sorting through my summer holiday photos of our fantastic trip to Italy, and I thought I’d share with you my pictures of the magnificent illuminated manuscripts which once belonged to Pope Enea Silvio Piccolomini.

The manuscripts, (or MSS), are housed in the 15th century Piccolomini Library in Siena’s Duomo and as well as being beautifully painted are some of the largest I have ever seen.


You may also notice the brilliantly frescoed walls and ceiling which were painted by the Perugian painter Pintoricchio (Bernardino di Betto) in 1502.

Although the display is great for maximum visual impact, large books should ideally be stored horizontally to avoid ‘text block drag’. This is when the paper exerts strain on the sewing stations and eventually causes breaks at the joints and damage to the binding.

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Tynemouth Second hand and Antiquarian Book Fair; 18th October 2015

The fourth and final Tynemouth Book Fair of 2015 takes place on Sunday 18th October. Arrive early to find the best bargains and browse a huge range of books from the booksellers of Yorkshire, the North East and beyond.  

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Mind the Gap…

A recent trip to London wouldn’t have felt complete without popping into the immense British Museum, a highlight of which for me is the Reading Room. Although unfortunately it’s currently closed, it’s well worth a visit should you get the chance in future. While the huge beautiful gold and azure blue dome is breath-taking to see, what amazes me even more is that the lining is papier mâché.

Unfortunately, restoration work had to be undertaken in 1998 to stop the advent of cracks caused by shrinkage of the paper. An ingenious method, inspired by the Royal Navy’s method for waterproofing ships using hemp and caulk, was applied. After first filling the cracks with cotton wadding, one and a half miles of a type of surgical bandage was attached over the cracks before an oil-based paint was applied over the top.

The solution is one which is typical of conservation; sometimes, damage can’t always be stopped but by applying a method which is sympathetic to the problem and original materials, further damage can at least be slowed and controlled. In the above instance, the wadding and bandage will permit the cracks to continue to move as is the nature of the component materials, however, the new support will preserve and protect the tremendous dome for years to come.

The British Museum Reading Room Dome. Building work began in 1854.

The British Museum Reading Room Dome. Building work began in 1854.


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York PBFA Book Fair; 18th/19th September, 2015

The annual York PBFA, (Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association),  book fair will take place in York over the 18th and 19th September at its usual venue of the Racecourse.

Easily the largest and most important northern England book fair of the year, this two-floor event will keep you fascinated for hours with its vast array of books and ephemera. Books range from children’s’ books to militaria and antique maps and it’s a great chance to meet the passionate and knowledgable booksellers, too.

So much more fun than buying online!


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