The Second Convention

Just back from the Society of Bookbinders biennial convention in Bath. Here are some things I learned there, in roughly chronological order:

  1. Conservators are not conservationists.
  2. The history and decoration of Russia leather.
  3. Chicken feet have much more potential than I ever realised.
  4. Boxmaking.
  5. Don’t bother to make a relevant box for a binding competition unless it will definitely be judged and shown.
  6. Sewn boards binding.
  7. The value of an unexpected lunch partner, and why so many people are fond of Paul Delrue.
  8. Bradel binding.
  9. I really do like the other members of the Scottish region of the Society of Bookbinders.
  10. People value the Bookweb for its confessional side as well as its instructional side.
  11. Never get into a scar competition with someone who was in a car accident. Not even with my burn scars.
  12. When I drink, I talk faster. When some of the people I drink with drink, they think slower. Eventually, communication stops.
  13. Sometimes it doesn’t stop soon enough.
  14. I cannot be an apprentice or have a single mentor at this stage in my binding life.
  15. Another form of onlaying.
  16. Tini Miura would make a magnificent arm-wrestler, if she weren’t so kind.
  17. Ways to alter a bone folder and a paring knife.
  18. I can walk through shoulder-high blackberry bushes because I am able to goose-step like Basil Fawlty.
  19. I want to do more botanical onlay bindings.
  20. Herons make a very peculiar sound when they’re angry.
  21. How to use a slightly punctured plastic bag, a hair rubber band, and a disposable paper bath mat to wick the water from a dripping tap silently down the plughole.
  22. People will buy pretty much anything for a tenner from the back of a white van.
  23. Never be intimidated by someone simply because she seems talented, confident and beautiful. She probably doesn’t realise she is all of these things.
  24. You meet colleagues in the darndest places.
  25. Motor racing has the potential to be interesting, even if it doesn’t interest me.

2 thoughts on “The Second Convention”

  1. Wow! You’ll have to limit your convention-going so as not to exceed your allotted knowledge quotient. Actually, you may be over the line already.

    I would recommend the secluded vacation as an antidote, having just come back from one. I learned one thing, which could be phrased (depending on where you want to crib from) as “less is more” or “silence speaks louder than words.” I don’t know how many things I forgot (or unlearned), but the quotient seems comfortably below the maximum. In fact, it’s bloody hard to go back to work!


  2. Thus points 18 – 20, learned when I decided not to go to the (reportedly excellent) discussion of self-heating finishing tools and instead took a walk through an inviting gate.

    One has to amortise the knowledge acquisition from the SoB convention over a two-year period, at which point those 25 lessons come out to one a month or so.

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