Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies to host lecture on velum making


Wednesday, October 5, 3:00 – LN 1106, IASH Conference Room

Parchmentally Yours: Animal Materiality in the Intimate Study of Medieval Book Production and its Related Fields

Jesse Meyer, Pergamena Parchment and Leathers

Parchment, or vellum, is one of the oldest and most durable of bookbinding and production materials, both as a covering material and as a text support. It was the principle “plastic” material of the Middle Ages, and remains one of the strongest, most sensuous, and most archival of natural materials available to the bookbinder and calligrapher. Its alkalinity makes it an ideal material for conservation purposes and its continued existence in our libraries and institutions provides an invaluable window into our written history.

Join us as Jesse Meyer discusses and demonstrates the process of producing vellum by hand. Jesse will guide us through the “wet work” portion using actual raw animal skins, as well as tools and equipment, taking the fresh animal skins through the dehairing stage to the point of stretching and scraping them on the frame. We will also learn about the “dry work”, the finishing processes of the skins, and will end with sanding the skins to proper thickness and finish. There will also be numerous examples of the material available for inspection and handling.

Jesse Meyer has been producing parchment for over 15 years at his family-owned leather tannery located in Montgomery, NY.  His background includes a degree in fine arts which, along with his long family history in the craft of leather production, helped lay the foundation for exploring animal skins as an art material, and eventual research and production of the material as a binding and writing material used in ancient and medieval manuscripts.

CEMERS  Lecture Series/Calendar of Events