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This week

May 17, 2008

Was spent doing a PCIP course–Professional Conservators In Practice. The course was leather conservation, taught by the folks at the Leather Conservation Center, and it was quite interesting and informative (and made for an exhausting week). My favorite part was probably identifying species of leather. We were given an envelope of bits of traditionally-used leather (meaning mostly sheep, goat, pig, calf/cattle) and (after being trained, of course), asked to look at them under a microscope and identify the tanning process (alum-tawed, vegetable, chrome, etc), and the animal based on the pattern, size, and spacing of the hair follicules. I managed to match all of them! I even identified the deer skin (which was really pretty). It’s a good thing it’s no revelation to me that I’m a nerd–getting excited about identifying leather bits.

They also brought all kinds of amazing leathers: chagreen (stingray–bookbinders like this one), ostrich, crocodile and snake, a ridiculously thick slab of a water buffalo’s cheek, this amazing one I’d never seen called–shoot, I can’t remember so I’ll edit this once I have a look at my notes… well this is all going south because I can’t remember half of the leathers I saw. To be continued, I guess.

I bonded with one of our instructors, Roy Thompson, because he had visited Utah last summer (right during all those fires in July). He and his wife had rented a car and drove all over some fairly random and not-all-touristy places–Spring City, Arches (well, that one’s touristy, but I’d have been disappointed if he hadn’t gone!), the San Rafael Swell…and they spent the 4th of July in Kanab. He loved every bit of it. Said folks were great, which I’m always glad to hear.

In other news, I’m still hoping to meet my artificial deadline for my 4000 word essay (UGH) so that I can go camping with a bunch of YSA friends in the north of Devon next weekend…(I’ve committed financially already!) So you may not hear from me for a while.

I haven’t gotten much done in the workshop because of this leather conservation course, and then today we had a lecture on historical book structures as well as science… and I don’t imagine I’ll be there much next week, what with my Friday deadline. Time is still flying…!

Oh. And lest I forget!

After having to watch people relish it for the past month, I finally had a well-earned and deserved pavlova today. And yes. It was delicious. And rich. And it made me ever so slightly ill. But it was worth it.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. zstitches permalink
    May 17, 2008 3:42 pm

    Pshew — I am glad you got to eat a pavlova, I really didn’t want you to miss out on that. (Can you say vicarious living?)

    The leathers sound pretty cool.

    Good luck with the writing. I stumbled across some good hints for getting past writer’s block the other day but I can’t remember where to link to them, but I think one was to just sit down and write as fast and furious as you can — even if you have nothing to say, just write about how you have nothing to say — and that at least gets your fingers and brain into writing mode; you can go back and delete it all but at least there’s something on the page.

  2. lilbooks permalink*
    May 18, 2008 12:02 am

    Yes, I’m glad I got the pavlova, too… I think someday I shall have to learn to make the stuff. Tonight I had a couple bites (it was enough–after my sugar de-tox!) of sticky toffee pudding… You can see why it came to swearing it off…it’s just yum after yum after yum…
    and when one is sitting around writing all day…

    Thanks for the writing tips, I seem to have less writers block on this one than the last one, though I’m still not very far yet… (sigh) I’ll actually be SO glad to be done with these dumb essays and finally be able to feel like I can work on my Thesis. I’m not sure what the answer is, but all my classmates agree that these essays feel pointless when more pressing work looms but can’t really be gotten to until this is out of the way…

  3. zstitches permalink
    May 18, 2008 4:34 am

    You reminded me, again, that I’m meaning to try meringues in my dehydrator. I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed in life, right now, so maybe that’s a project to try when things slow down (like, after my kids have all de-nested.)

  4. Acheté permalink
    May 18, 2008 8:49 am

    Yes, you couldn’t have left without trying the pavlova. Aussies and Kiwis both claim it as their own, and let us know as much (Singers tour, ’96). Mmm.

  5. lilbooks permalink*
    May 18, 2008 1:55 pm

    Ha–
    there was no danger in not trying the pavlova–
    the whole reason I went off sugar was because my dessert intake–including pavlova–was out of control.

  6. marymary permalink
    May 19, 2008 5:09 am

    Well, of course you got excited learning about the types of leather! I started to hyperventilate just reading your descriptions! I’m living vicariously through your experiences. I think I would love the studies you’re doing. Not sure I’d be so good at what you do, though. And I’d stress big time over the papers, too. But, man. So, so cool.

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