John Mellerio
1 year ago

The next SoB Seminar will be held in 2020.

We invite to join us for our tenth Education & Training Seminar, held this year at the Harper Adams University, Newport, Shropshire, a modern, comfortable and extremely compact campus. All the lectures will be projected onto large screens so that close-up work can be clearly seen. In addition to the lectures, there will be an evening of informal demonstrations, a Suppliers’ Fair and a fund-raising auction.

The Seminar will start on Thursday evening, beginning with the AGM, followed by Dinner and the Promenade. Delegates will be able to see all of the lectures/demonstrations for the day(s) booked.

Joining instructions and the list of a ending suppliers will be sent to delegates nearer the time.

TOM McEWAN: Decorative Leather Techniques
This presentation will examine and demonstrate a range of useful techniques designed to create attractive decorative finishes on natural or tannery-dyed bookbinding leathers. The methods used are low-tech but very effective and are devised to visually enhance the leather, generating texture and colour contrasts by employing resist layers and a subsequent application of spirit and aniline dye. Tom will also show how such decorated leather can be used in combination with more traditional finishing techniques, such as gold and blind tooling and inlay and onlay work.

MARK FURNESS: Making Bespoke Book Cradles
Books are mechanical devices. When moving through all their possible openings, components shift and the profile of the book changes. To preserve a book, especially when on display, it is important that all aspects are supported as much as possible to reduce and remove strain. In his presentation Mark will demonstrate how to arrange a book for display (open or closed, angled or flat), take a profile, and create a bespoke cradle to support the book at that opening. He will show how these steps have led to the current designs and methods of manufacture that the University of Manchester Library uses for its exhibitions and loans.

MICHAEL BURKE:The Pastepapers of the Moravian Sisters of Hernhutt
Although known from around 1650, pastepapers were made popular in the mid 1700s by the Moravian Sisters of Hernhutt in Saxony. Recent study of these papers has sparked a revival of interest in them, and in his demonstration Michael will introduce you to the methods, materials and patterns used on the original pastepapers. He will begin by mixing the colours using natural earth pigments and making the few simple tools used by the Sisters. He will then reproduce each of their original designs using the same colours, patterns, freehand brush strokes and tooling.

LORI SAUER: Slipcase with Locking Lid
All good bindings should have a box of some type and this one is a variation on more labour-intensive containers. It is a slipcase made from good quality heavy paper and it varies from the normal open edged slipcase in that it has an integral lid that covers the open edge and ‘locks.’ It’s quick to do and works well for simple, small budget work or can be jazzed up into something more sophisticated. It’s a welcome addition to the repertoire of all binders.

NICK COWLISHAW: Tight Back Library Style Binding
Library style binding was invented in the late nineteenth century in England and was derived from the structure of account books, for rebinding books which received excessive use in public libraries. Its strong sewing, reinforced endpapers and split boards all make for an extremely robust binding. In his demonstration, Nick will show the methods used in the forwarding and covering of a traditional tight back library style binding, covered in quarter goatskin with vellum tips and cloth sides. He will demonstrate endpaper construction, board attachment, spine lining, leather paring, covering and the putting down of the endpapers.

DIANA ILLINGWORTH-COOK: Stuff I Can’t Live Without
Bookbinders are often busy people. Anything that makes our lives easier has to be a good thing, right? During the course of her bookbinding adventures Diana has accumulated many ideas and gadgets that just make things that little bit easier. From empty sticky tape rolls and cardboard tubes to bits of metal, rubber bands and other ephemera. She will share as many of these as can be squished into the allotted time, including details for how to make or where to get as well as how to use them.

CAROLINE BENDIX: Making Textblock Supports
Gravity is a major threat to books but the damage caused is often unrecognised. Providing a support for the textblock can add centuries onto the life of a binding. Caroline will demonstrate ways of supporting the textblock by means of a bookshoe,  a discreet support that protects the cover of the book as well as supporting the textblock. She will go through the selection process of materials and equipment
for making bookshoes and then demonstrate two methods, one made from one piece of board and the other from two. She will discuss the merits and drawbacks of both and provide a framework for deciding upon which to choose.

ROGER GRECH: Editioning for Multiples
Edition binding unearths many issues for the binder, the main issue being how to capture the quality of the sample binding and replicate this throughout the edition. Most issues can be ironed out after the first advance copies; this is when most of the jigs and aids are made for the edition. As the work progresses jigs and tools are refined until the whole process becomes simplified.
In his presentation Roger will share the jigs and aids used in the production of Coastline by Hannah Cousins, printed by Pat Randle of Nomad Letterpress and the Transylvanian Florilegium, published by Addison Publications.

Companies offering materials, tools and other equipment for bookbinding and related crafts will be an attraction to delegates. The Fair will be held in the Regional Food Academy and the Weston Building close to the Conference Hall, where tea and coffee will also be served.

If you have a technique, structure or favourite tool you would like to share, we welcome your contribution. Please contact Dominic Riley to register your interest:

The exhibition at Seminar is organised by one of the Regions. This year’s set text is ‘Amusements in Mathematics’ by Henry E. Dudeney. Further details of the exhibition will be published here at a later date.

Throughout the Seminar there will be a ‘silent auction’ running, where bidders for small items can write their bids on a bidding form. Larger items will be sold at the Live Auction after the Seminar Dinner on Friday evening. Please bring tools, materials, books and any other items that you may wish to donate to the Society for this sale which raises money to support the Society’s educational


National AGM (SoB members only)
Promenade: A series of informal demonstrations


TOM McEWAN: Decorative Leather Techniques
MARK FURNESS: Making Bespoke Book Cradles


MICHAEL BURKE: e Pa epapers of the Moravian Sisters of Hernhu
LORI SAUER: Slipcase with Locking Lid


AUCTION (please bring contributions)


NICK COWLISHAW: Tight Back Library Style Binding


CAROLINE BENDIX: Making Textblock Supports
ROGER GRECH: Editioning for Multiples

The Harper Adams University is located on the outskirts of Newport (sat nav TF10 8NB) in the heart of Shropshire and is easily accessible by train, coach and car.


Although Telford Central is the closest train station to Harper Adams, you may find more direct trains to Stafford or Shrewsbury. There are frequent British Rail services from London (Euston) to Shrewsbury and Stafford Stations.

A minibus service will be available from Shrewsbury Station to the University. Details will be in the Joining Instructions and delegates will be asked to inform the organizers of their arrival time. There are also bus services direct to the campus from Shrewsbury Station.

An early bird discount is currently in place – prices will increase after 30th March 2020.

Full Delegate (from Thursday, includes Dinner):

  • Members: £300
  • Non-members: £320

The rate for Full Delegates includes 2 nights’ accommodation and all meals, tea and coffee from dinner on the Thursday evening until 5pm on the Saturday.

Full Delegate (from Friday am):

  • Members: £260
  • Non-members: £280

The rate for Full Delegates includes 1 nights’ accommodation and all meals, tea and coffee from dinner on the Friday evening until 5pm on the Saturday.

Day Delegates:

  • Members: £100 per day
  • Non-members: £120 per day

This includes lunch and tea/coffee but not dinner.


Dinner for day delegates on either the Thursday or Friday can be pre-booked for £16 extra.

If you have further enquiries please email:


• Full and Day Delegates must pay the full amount with this booking form.

• EARLY BIRD PRICING APPLIES: Please note prices for Full Delegates will increase if booking after 30th March 2020.

• Cancellations: refunds will not be given except in extenuating circumstances and will be at the discretion of the organizers.

• No bookings can be taken after 31st May 2020 or earlier if the event threshold is reached earlier.

If you prefer not to register online (see below) bookings may be made by post, using the form which can be downloaded here, with payment by bank transfer, cheque or credit card.

If you have any further enquiries, please contact the Seminar Treasurer, George Davidson:

You will be able to register for the Seminar and pay by clicking on the appropriate aquamarine blue buttons below. Payment is via PayPal but you do not need a PayPal account as all major credit cards are accepted. Please note online registration is not currently open.

Please ensure that you have read and understand all the information in the Pricing section (see tab above) before starting the registration process. SoB members will need to know their Membership Number.

When registration is complete, you will receive confirmation of your payment from PayPal. We will then contact you to get further information regarding your personal preferences and requirements.

If you have any questions about your registration, please email the Conference Treasurer.

Book online

You can choose to attend for either or both Friday and Saturday, and either no dinner, dinner, or dinner and accommodation.  Select the option you want below to be taken to Paypal for payment. Please provide your membership number if you’re looking to benefit from the Members’ discount.

Full Delegate (from Thu evening)

(From Thursday evening, includes AGM) The rate for Full Delegates includes 2 nights’ accommodation and all meals, tea and coffee from dinner on the Thursday evening until 5pm on the Saturday.

Member: £300

Membership Number

Non-member: £320

Full Delegate (from Fri am)

(From Friday morning) The rate for Full Delegates includes 1 nights’ accommodation and all meals, tea and coffee from dinner on the Friday evening until 5pm on the Saturday.

Member: £260

Membership number

Non-member: £280

Day Delegates

This includes lunch and tea/coffee but not dinner.

Day rate (Friday, Saturday)

Member: £100

Member day and dinner options
Membership Number

Non-member: £120

Select non-member day and dinner options


Day delegates can optionally add dinner on the Thursday evening or Friday evening.


Dinner: £16


Dinner: £16

You can download a PDF of the Seminar 2020 Programme here.