Week 5 - Writing Supports

This week we will be talking about "writing supports", i.e. what writing is put on. This includes everything from lead sheets for Roman curses, stone monuments to commemorate the dead, birchbark for medieval doodling or parchment which is the most common writing support for the medieval period in Western Europe and Byzantium.

In class, you will be asked to describe your parchment. For a thorough introduction to parchment as a medium and what to consider in describing your folio's parchment surface , consult the Book and Paper Group Wiki which is a publication of the Book and Paper Group of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

There are lots of videos online about paper and parchment making. Check out this one about Japanese paper making. The British Library's Medieval England and France, 700-1200 online exhibition has a number of high quality videos about the making of quills, ink, pigments, vellum and more.