About the series
Join conservators, curators and book artists to explore where textiles can be found in library collections, their conservation needs, and what they can reveal about historic and contemporary craft.
Watch previous talks in this series
Recordings of all the previous talks in this series are available to watch on the Oxford University Podcasts webpage.
Talk 1: Textiles in Libraries: glimpses from the Bodleian
Thursday 11 November 2021
Speakers: Jo Maddocks, Assistant Curator of Printed Books; Andrew Honey, Book Conservator; and Martin Kauffmann, Head of Early and Rare Collections (all part of the Special Collections Department of the Bodleian Libraries)
The first talk in the Textiles in Libraries: Context and Conservation series brings together three colleagues from across the Bodleian Library to explore the wide variety and sometimes surprising uses of textiles found in our collections. The session will look at examples of textiles and related techniques used to produce books, including traces of some that are now lost, and will begin to investigate the questions they pose both for our readers and for the library staff who care for them.
Watch talk 1
Talk 2: Beyond the velvet cover: textiles and craft in Byzantine bookbinding
Thursday 25 November 2021
Speaker: Georgios Boudalis, Head of the Book and Paper Conservation Laboratory at the Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki, Greece
Beyond the sewing structure itself and the rich fabrics used to cover luxurious books, there are more textiles and textile related techniques that have so far remained unnoticed in Byzantine codices. The talk will focus on some techniques little known not only in the context of Byzantine bookbinding but more generally in the context of Byzantine material culture, such as braiding, twining, sumak and tablet weaving. These techniques have been used in Byzantine and similar codices for working endbands, bookmarks and fastenings straps. Beyond providing information on some so far unknown practices and techniques in the context of Byzantine bookbinding, such practices also provide very rare and thus valuable information on the knowledge and use of these techniques in Byzantine textile production.
Watch talk 2
Talk 3: Stitches, leaves and smelly old books: in conversation with textile artist Alice Fox
Thursday 9 December 2021
Speaker: Alice Fox, embroiderer and textile artist
Textile based artwork is well aligned with stitched or folded book structures, which can become a useful vehicle for paper or cloth to transform from 2-Dimensional surfaces to 3-Dimensional objects. In this session artist Alice Fox will introduce a number of book-related examples from her practice and describe how an experimental approach to materials can lead to a variety of creative outcomes.
Watch talk 3
Talk 4: Textiles from East to West: case studies from the Leiden collections
Thursday 13 January 2022
Speaker: Karin Scheper, Head of the Conservation department at Leiden University Libraries
Building on earlier talks in the Textiles in Libraries: Context and Conservation series that explored the uses of textiles in library collections, this talk focuses on examples of textiles in manuscript bindings in the Oriental collections of Leiden University Library. We will look at the function of such fabrics and what information they offer, and see if a comparison between Western and Eastern practices can be made.
Watch talk 4
Talk 5: Textiles and text: A collaborative approach to conserving textile-covered manuscripts
Thursday 24 March 2022
Speakers: Jane Eagan, Head of Conservation of the Oxford Conservation Consortium; Maria Hayward, Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Southampton
The Queen's College Library, University of Oxford, has seven manuscripts re-covered in red or black velvet for Henry VIII, part of a small corpus of royal books still in their textile bindings. This unusual part of the college's collection was conserved by Jane Eagan and Maria Hayward between 2002–9. In their talk for Textiles in Libraries: Conservation and Context, they will describe the velvet textiles used, how the Tudor binders re-covered the manuscripts, and how they worked together to achieve the treatment aims. The Queen's project opened up an area of investigation that Eagan and Hayward continue to explore through related work on objects that combine textiles and text.
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Talk 6: Tying up loose threads: the Textiles in Libraries project so far
Tuesday 19 July 2022, 1–2pm (BST)
Speakers: Nicole Gilroy, Head of Book Conservation, and Alice Evans, Assistant Book Conservator, both part of the Special Collections department at the Bodleian Libraries.
Join the Bodleian Conservation and Collection Care team to find out more about what the Textiles in Libraries project has involved so far. From surveying and assessing the current condition and housing of our collections, to inviting students and experts to visit and look more closely together at some of our objects. This talk will share some of what happens behind the scenes at the library, and how the books in our collections are cared for and studied everyday.
Watch talk 6
This event is generously supported by T A Barron.