Events  |  E&T Conference


The Society of Bookbinders Education & Training Conference 2015 will be held at Keele University, Staffordshire from Thursday August 20th to Sunday August 23rd 2015.

There will be lectures and demonstrations on: gold tooling; book arts; paper marbling; techniques; boxes and much more.

Further details will be posted here in the autumn.


Conference 2013, held at Leeds Metropolitan University’s Headingley Campus in late August 2013, was a tremendous success. Below is a report by the Conference Organiser.


Conference 2013 at Leeds Metropolitan University, August 29th-31st
This year there were fifteen speakers, who could be put into three broad categories: book arts, conservation and fine and traditional binding.


Sue Doggett is a book artist who used her experiences to give her ideas about book creation.

Peter Jones brought a set of interesting-looking machines into the lecture room and showed how he used them to make ‘composite boards’ with wood, acrylic and other materials.

Stephan Ortbauer, from Vienna, talked about the work he does with artists to make books to show their work.  Some of these are enormous, some are tiny. 

Tracey Rowledge is well known for her gold tooling and work in book arts.  She showed us a method of tooling on paper.


Stuart Brockman , of Brockman Bookbinders, showed how to repair damage to gold tooling, and how to produce a complicated-looking spine with a few simple tools.

Terry Buckley used his traditional apprenticeship and his wide experience of teaching to show how a book is constructed and covered so that it will open flat.

Edmund King filled out our historical knowledge with a fascinating after-dinner talk on two of the Victorian book designers.  We discovered that they always signed their work with a monogram and that it can be found if you look hard enough.

Monique Lallier gave a demonstration of a method of making edge-to-edge doublures on a fine binding.

Sue Hufton was one of the calligraphers working on the Saint John’s Bible, and described how the team had had to work together to produce this beautiful set of books.

Kate Brett, of Payhembury Marbled Papers, gave a talk on the history of marbling patterns followed by a demonstration of how these patterns are achieved. 


Don Etherington is internationally known for his work in setting up conservation programmes and studios.  His stiff board vellum binding avoided the need to put vellum over the cords by cutting a slot for them.

Yvette Fletcher from the Leather Conservation Centre at Northampton described their work on ‘red rot’ and its treatment.

Richard Nichols talked about the early methods of conservation which are now not used but which formed the basis of modern conservation methods.

Philippa Räder, a conservator for the Royal Collections, told us about the rebinding of Audubon’s Birds of America.  This started with the sound of birdsong and pink flamingos on the tables, and was a record on film of the difficulties of rebinding this enormous book.  The endpapers were irreplaceable and so had to be detached from the old boards and replaced on the new ones.

Karen Vidler is the senior conservator at Book Conservation Services.  She told us about the way leather is constructed and processed and how to recognise the different types. 


This year there were 177 full delegates and 20 day delegates.

Eight of the delegates had places as ‘helpers’ who assisted the speakers during their talks and directed people as necessary.

Six bursaries were awarded by the London and South Region and two more from the Gordon Hartley Memorial Fund and the Clothworkers’ Foundation.

Suppliers’ Fair
This was held in the sports hall behind the main building.  Twenty-five suppliers took stalls, selling a wide range of equipment and materials:  leathers, cloths, papers, tools and equipment.


Please note that it may be necessary for reasons beyond our control to change the speakers’ slots. Please note also that some speakers will be giving their presentation twice, but not necessarily on the same day.

Friday AM
Sue Doggett
Don Etherington (2)
Sue Hufton
Monique Lallier
Philippa Räder


Friday PM
Kate Brett (2)
Yvette Fletcher
Adam Larsson
Stephan Ortbauer
Tracey Rowledge


Saturday AM
Terry Buckley (2)
Adam Larsson*
Richard Nichols
Stephan Ortbauer
Tracey Rowledge

Saturday PM
Stuart Brockman (2)
Peter Jones
Monique Lallier
Philippa Räder
Karen Vidler

Don Etherington and Terry Buckley will both be giving one presentation in two parts.

* We are very sorry that Adam Larsson has had to withdraw from the Conference for personal reasons. We are very grateful to Richard Nichols and Helen Golding-Miller who have very kindly agreed to rearrange their own timetables to fill Adam's two places.


  • Kate Brett
    History of Marbling: recipes and methods

    Kate studied bookbinding with Maureen Duke and Daphne Beaumont Wright at Guildford and has been marbling paper for over 30 years, in many different countries, though she is now based near Cambridge. She has a particular interest in reproducing old patterns and sends her papers all over the world.

    Kate will talk about the history of marbling and how it arrived in Europe, and show how the patterns are made.

  • Stuart Brockman
    Gold finishing: general and repair

    Stuart took an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College, London, before joining his father James in his bindery near Oxford. Stuart is a Fellow of Designer Bookbinders, and his work is found in many collections all over the world. He is an experienced lecturer and speaker, and ran the SoB bookbinding competition for eight years.

    There are many aspects to gold tooling. Stuart will go over some lettering and general tooling techniques and show how tooling can be applied to restoration work.

  • Terry Buckley
    Forwarding techniques: theory and practice

    Terry served a bookbinding apprenticeship at W T Morrells and worked in several other hand binderies. He was bookbinding tutor at the London College of Printing, and has lectured on bookbinding in the USA and Europe. His wide experience has taught him the need to use methods that work so that the book will function properly.

    Terry will look at the forwarding processes and discuss why they are used and what constitutes best practice when binding a book.

  • Sue Doggett
    From book to binding: a book artist’s interaction with the text

    Sue is an artist whose main practice is in book arts, looking at ‘the relationship between objects, sound and memory’. She holds a BA in Visual Arts and Art History from Oxford Brookes University and and an MA in Design from Brighton University. She is a Fellow of Designer Bookbinders and a teacher of art and design. Her work can be found in public collections in Europe and the USA.

    Sue will look at the importance of the words of a text in the interpretation and creation of books and bookbindings.

  • Don Etherington (USA)
    Stiff board vellum with slotted spine

    Don studied bookbinding at the Central School of Arts and Crafts and the London College of Printing, and served his apprenticeship with Harrison and Sons. He moved to the USA and after working in book conservation in the Library of Congress and the University of Texas developed a conservation programme for the Etherington Conservation Center. He is one of the foremost authorities on book conservation.

    Don will show how to make a stiff board vellum binding with slotted spine.

  • Yvette Fletcher
    Acid deterioration in leather (‘red rot’)
    and its treatment (Leather Conservation Centre)

    Yvette followed a first degree in History and Art History with an MA in Conservation and a six-month internship at the Leather Conservation Centre in Northampton. Since 2009 she has been head of the LCC and is a mentor for the professional accreditation scheme run by the Institute for Conservation (ICON).

    Yvette will talk about the work of the LCC into acid deterioration in leather and its treatment.

  • Sue Hufton
    The St John’s Bible project

    Sue studied calligraphy and bookbinding at Roehampton. She is a Fellow of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators and teaches lettering and bookbinding at West Dean College. For some years she was one of the scribes of the Saint John’s Bible and she frequently gives talks about the work involved. She has fulfilled many commissions and her work can be found in collections at the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Crafts Study Centre.

    Sue will tell us about the handwritten Bible commissioned by the Benedictine Community of Saint John’s in Minnesota, which has taken over twelve years to produce.

  • Peter Jones
    Composite boards:
    wood, acrylic and carbon fibre in combinations with conventional materials

    Peter started out with a degree in Economics but since then has worked extensively with wood, in furniture restoration and carpentry. He started bookbinding when he moved to Brighton in 1986. He is an experienced teacher and a Fellow of Designer Bookbinders, of which he was President for some years. He is particularly interested in the use of wood and acrylic in his bindings.

    Peter will talk about the development of his techniques using wood and acrylic sheet and show some of the tools, machinery and methods used.

  • Ed King
    Victorian decorated book covers:
    the designs of John Leighton and William Harry Rogers

    Ed worked at the British Library for many years, first cataloguing and indexing, and then in the preservation service, where he was in charge of selecting books for binding and conservation. He then became head of the extensive newspaper collection, which is regarded as one of the best in the world.

    Ed will share with us his enthusiasm for Victorian decorated bindings, and in particular the work of John Leighton and William Harry Rogers.

  • Monique Lallier (USA)
    Edge-to-edge doublures

    Monique studied bookbinding in Montreal and Paris, and then in Ascona in Italy and Solothurn in Switzerland. She was Director of the American Academy of Bookbinding from 2004-2009 and is a member of several bookbinding associations in Canada, the USA and Europe. She is an internationally-recognised bookbinder and book artist and her work is in collections all over the world.

    Monique will show us how to make a smooth ’edge to edge’ leather doublure that goes up to the edge of the covering leather.

  • Adam Larsson (Sweden)*
    Mediaeval techniques for modern design

    Adam studied bookbinding and book and paper conservation in Sweden and works as a book conservator in the Uppsala University Library, dealing with all kinds of materials of different ages, such as papyrus fragments and mediaeval books. He has given workshops and classes in many parts of the world.

    Adam will talk about mediaeval techniques of bookbinding such as sewing and attaching boards and show how they function and how they can be decorative in a modern binding.

    * We are very sorry that Adam Larsson has had to withdraw from the Conference for personal reasons. We are very grateful to Richard Nichols and Helen Golding-Miller who have very kindly agreed to rearrange their own timetables to fill Adam's two places.

    Richard will be speaking on 'Ethical challenges in the conservation of archives' as follows:
    Friday August 30th, 4.00 - 5.15 pm (replacing Adam Larsson)
    Saturday August 31st, 11.15 am -12.30 pm (as scheduled)

    Helen will give a demonstration of a limp vellum binding:
    Saturday August 31st, 9.15 - 10.30 am (replacing Adam Larsson)
    Please note that she will not now be giving this demonstration on the Thursday afternoon as part of the sideshows.

  • Richard Nichols
    ‘Conservation or Restoration?’
    Ethical challenges in the treatment and binding of
    hand-written and archival volumes

    Richard studied Conservation at the Camberwell School of Art and Crafts and then worked as a conservator in various record offices. He is now senior conservator at the Staffordshire Archive and Heritage Service. He has been involved in conservation training and enjoys passing on his wide knowledge of the conservation of paper, parchment and bindings.

    Richard will discuss what the conservator has to consider when treating and binding hand-written and archival material, and will describe some recent case studies.

  • Stephan Ortbauer (Austria)
    Small books, big books: twenty years of custom-made artist’s books

    Stephan studied bookbinding in Vienna and is a freelance bookbinder and book artist. He enjoys making books of extreme sizes, whether large or small.

    Stephan will talk about the artists he has worked with producing large books and also about his miniature ‘leporello’ books.

  • Philippa Räder
    The rebinding of Audubon’s Birds of America from the Royal Collection

    Philippa took a degree in English from Cambridge University and worked in publishing and the antiquarian book trade in Los Angeles. She then trained in book and paper conservation, and ran her own printing and bookbinding studio for some years. She is now a book conservator and bookbinder for the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle.

    Philippa will describe how the four volumes of Birds of America containing the plates of John James Audubon’s prints made from his paintings were taken out of their inappropriate bindings and rebound.

  • Tracey Rowledge
    Gold tooling on paper

    Tracey studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths’ College and Fine Binding and Conservation at Guildford College. She is well known as a fine binder and book artist, and her work is collected and exhibited all over the world. She is a founder member of ‘Tomorrow’s Past’, an international bookbinding group, and is an established teacher of bookbinding.

    Tracey will talk about tooling with gold leaf on to paper, and will discuss the thinking behind her methods.

  • Karen Vidler
    How to read bookbinding leather

    Karen gained the Diploma in Fine Bookbinding and Conservation at Guildford College and followed this with the post-graduate qualification in Book Conservation at West Dean College. She worked as a book conservator and is now the senior book and paper conservator for Book Conservation Services; she combines this with teaching leather conservation at West Dean and elsewhere.

    Karen will talk about the physical make-up of leather and its treatment and finish so that listeners will gain a better understanding of the material. She will encourage us to ask questions!


Entries for the Society of Bookbinders’ International Bookbinding Competition 2013 will be on display in the Jubilee Room, which is near the lecture halls. The winners of the various categories will be announced on the Saturday evening before dinner and there will be time to look at these bindings.

The closing date for registration for the competition is Friday June 14th 2013. Entries must be sent to the competition organisers between Monday 8th and Friday 12th July 2013. More information can be found here.

These sideshows are planned to take place in the Cavendish Building, near the accommodation block, but please check at Carnegie Village reception as circumstances may have changed. The DVD will be shown once only. The demonstrations are quite informal, and you may come and go as you like.

DVD showing: Anthony Cains: A Decorative Leather Covering Technique
(shown by kind permission of the Rochester Institute of Technology)

Kate Bernstein: The use of traditional materials in modern book arts

Helen Golding-Miller: A limp vellum binding

Tony Russ: the technique of cuir ciselé

Leeds itself is well worth a visit and is easily accessible by bus from the main road near the Leeds Metropolitan campus. There will be a printed guide to a walk around the city centre to help you make the most of your time there.

This will be held in one of the university sports halls, a few minutes’ walk from the James Graham building and the residential accommodation. Major companies specialising in materials, tools and equipment relating to bookbinding and conservation will be there, as well as some smaller ones, and this is an excellent opportunity to see what is available and to handle it, and to benefit from special offers. The fair will be open from 10.30am on the Friday morning and there will be time between lectures to visit the fair, as well as early on Friday evening.

By car:
Leeds is easily accessible from the motorway network, the M1 and the M62 running close to the city. Headingley is on the A660 which runs north out of the city towards Otley.

Parking is free in the various car parks on the Headingley campus. These are close to the accommodation and the lecture halls.

By rail:
Leeds is well served by rail and the journey from both London and Edinburgh takes about two and a half hours. Trains are frequent. See for details.
T: 08457 484950
T: (from overseas) +44 (0)207 278 5240

Buses from the city centre (6, 92) and the railway station (1, stop Z1) run up the Otley Road. The most convenient stop for the campus is Churchwood Avenue, just after the BP garage. It is a few minutes' walk to the campus, but there will be a shuttle service from the bus stop and the campus running between 12.30 and 5.00pm.

If you prefer to take a taxi from the station there is a rank opposite the main entrance.

By coach:
National Express coaches run services to Leeds. For details see
T: 08717 818178
T: (from overseas) +44 (0)8717 818178

By air:
Leeds-Bradford airport is nearby and a taxi journey from there takes about fifteen minutes.
T: 0113 250 9696

Further details about travel can be found in the joining instructions.

• Please note that all places for Conference 2013 are now taken and booking is closed.