Hand Made Cover Paper Workshop with Christopher Clarkson and Jacques Brejoux at Moulin Du Verger Paper Mill, France.


An exceptional opportunity to work with two leaders in their different fields and combine a five day stay in rural France with a period of research, training and testing the qualities of handmade cover papers required in book conservation for sympathetic & durable rebinding. Using 19th & 20th century linen rags to make handmade papers, Jacques Brejoux will demonstrate the techniques of fibre identification, pulping, refining, sheet forming, couching, loft drying etc.

Using a reproduction a Stamper and Hollander machine for the pulp process. Jacques will share his knowledge & discuss the technical aspects of paper as they relate to book conservation. Jacques will share his knowledge & discuss the technical aspects of paper as they relate to book conservation and generally enjoy the tactile experience of handmade papermaking with all participants.

Chris Clarkson, using Jacques’ cover papers & some from other western mills, will discuss the technical qualities he requires in a handmade cover paper for use in rebinding period text-blocks. Chris will focus on cover paper qualities & their necessary requirements. His exemplars are the cover papers made & used on books of the Italian Renaissance & his teaching will concentrate on these as rebinding types for certain formats. Historically they are either limp or semi-limp binding structures, many of which use no adhesive but rely on particular qualities in the materials chosen & in the binding techniques used.

The qualities required in cover papers are tear & crease strength, abrasive resistance, fold shaping – not only considerations of structural support but also of smoothness of folds; the consideration of weight of sheet to format is also important. Happily these are also factors that play a part in the tactile enjoyment of such bindings.

Participants will benefit from the interchange, shared knowledge & skills, which will develop a joint understanding of the requirements of western style papers used in the conservation & rebinding of books & archival material and enjoy the tactile experience of handmade papermaking combining a five day stay in rural France.


To give participants an experience of papermaking at a high level and of paper binding types of the 16th & 17th century; to inform understanding of the processes, terminology & requirements/considerations. The hands-on course alongside is designed to focus attention onto book conservation & paper binding matters. The hope is to gain some deeper knowledge of the advantages and restrictions of the various processes and the various/types of qualities & textures & marks achievable.

Perceived audience

Those interested in European paper documents, books & archives from the late thirteenth century, particularly curators, senior conservators and paper historians. The group size is likely to be a maximum of eight people and previous experience is necessary.


Participants will be involved in the papermaking process, learning in detail about the fibre selection and preparation, traditional tools & equipment as well as new ideas & techniques. The application of short practical projects & bench tests will focus attention specifically on the physical qualities required in a handmade cover paper for book conservation purposes.

Teaching approach

Most of the teaching will be in the context of two practical workshops. Each session will be introduced by an illustrated talk followed by an opportunity to handle historical material and then it will be over to participants to make layered paper under supervision. It is hoped that the atmosphere will be informal, knowledgeable & serious. The course is based on looking at real examples, and packs of material have been brought together for this purpose. So as to provide some historical and visual context, each session will be introduced with an illustrated presentation. Thereafter we shall have fun, experiencing a mixture of confusion and elation as the subtle differences between processes reveal themselves.

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