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Parchment: from Medieval goats to Tasmanian marsupials

  • Ian Potter Museum of Art Swanston St Melbourne, VIC Australia (map)

As a part of the lecture series supporting the exhibition An Illumination: the Rothschild Prayer Book and other works from the Kerry Stokes Collection c.1280-1685, Libby Melzer and Grace Pundyk will discuss Medieval material parchment from two different perspectives. 

Libby will address parchment’s role as an archaeological resource, the analysis of which can inform our knowledge of the circumstances of the production of Medieval manuscripts as well as regional farming and manufacturing practises. Libby will discuss the methodologies for interpreting parchment through the example of two Glossed Bible books dating from the late 13th and early 14th centuries in the collection of the State Library of Victoria. 

Libby Melzer is the Senior Paper Conservator at the Commercial Conservation Service of the University of Melbourne’s Grimwade Centre.  She has over fifteen years experience in the conservation of paper and parchment, with a particular interest in Medieval parchment. 

Grace’s discussion will focus on her current parchment-making practice and the various processes she has engaged with – some gleaned from those of Medieval parchment makers, others with a decidedly 21st century and Australian twist – over the two years she has been working with parchment and skin. Grace will also try and explain how, one day in mid-2013, she came to the conclusion that it would not only be a good idea to teach herself how to make parchment, but that the skins from which the parchment is made should be sourced only from ‘roadkill’ marsupials in north-west Tasmania.

Grace Pundyk is an author, a performer and a current PhD candidate at The University of Melbourne’s Centre for Ideas. Her PhD research, titled Invisible Words: the semaphore of skin, utilizes skin and other beastly signifiers to articulate ideas around inherited memory and silenced trauma. It is from this research that Grace began making parchment. Largely self-taught, in 2014 she was able to improve her skills by undertaking a mentorship with Pergamena, professional parchment makers in New York.

All welcome to this free talk, although bookings are essential.

 

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Earlier Event: August 26
The STEPPE Pozible campaign
Later Event: September 17
STEPPE (a journey of unforgetting)