This 5-days course, held at “Laboratory of restoration of books and paper artworks” in Praglia’s Abbey from 10th to 14th July 2017, was tutored by Gangolf Ulbricht, a high professional master maker of handmade paper.
Gangolf Ulbricht works in Berlin and produces a several types of paper in a traditional manner. He deeply knows the history and the manufacturing of paper: from medieval times to modern machine paper. He also tests new types of modern paper with different fibres and he collaborates with many contemporary artists. As for the paper-based restoration industry, he has developed the thinnest, non-visible restoration handmade tissue in the world: the “Berlin Tissue”.
The course was divided in two parts: theory (paper history, manufacturing, techniques, ecc.) and practice (training in manifacture of handmade paper).
The partecipants were 10 paper restorers from Italy, England, Spain and Ireland. They learned all the handmade paper process. They started from the knowledge and processing of the raw materials like hemp, flax, cotton, straw, Manila hemp, blue jeans.
After these important initial steps the restorers experienced the entire process of creating the sheets: from mixing the pulp to the final sizing. For the knowledge of ancient and modern paper, it was important to observe the original samples. The restorers tried to recognize the production period of several samples by observing some details and clues: small spots (dots) and lumps (lentles), shadows, paper color, fillers and various inclusions.
Later, they started with the practical session.
They made a lot of sheets using different moulds (single or double layer, laid or wove) and a lot of fibres (hemp, flax, straw, cotton, abaca and blue jeans). They tried to reproduce the original samples (looking at the color and other properties) mixing different kinds and different concentration of fibres.
The restorers followed the sequence used by the old handmade paper makers: preparation of pulps, creation of the sheet on the mould, couching on felts, pressing and natural air drying.
At the end the partecipants filled a paper examination record of unknown original samples to test all their knowledge gained during the course.
Now, the restorers have the basics to make theirselves handmade paper useful for paper and parchment restoration.
Alberto Benato and Gloria Biasin
Paper restorers at Laboratory of restoration of books and paper artworks in Praglia’s Abbey
|A laid mould with Praglia's watermark|
|prof. Gangolf Ulbricht|
|Sewing the watermark|
|The group of restorers|