The Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies at Penn brings manuscript culture, modern technology and people together.

Pergamena Presentations at SIMS

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On September 11, 2013, the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies welcomed Stephen Meyer from Pergamena parchment makers (http://www.pergamena.net/). The Meyer family has been making leather and parchment since the sixteenth century. Stephen came to SIMS to present on his family’s work and to demonstrate how parchment is made. Following the formal presentation he led a hands-on demonstration which included sheets of parchment made from several different animals, large and small.

The presentation announcement read:

Hailing from 16th-century Germany, the Meyer family stems from a 500-year history of working in the tanning industry.  20 years ago, Jesse Meyer rediscovered the all but forgotten material, parchment, while experimenting with different uses and production methods for the animal skins used to make leather.  After finding that this material was not only still useful for many applications, but also in demand by the conservation, restoration, binding, and calligraphic arts communities, he set about refining and expanding his parchment production, starting Pergamena in the process.  Today, Pergamena produces many different types of parchment for dozens of niche industries that still utilize the versatile material.  And while times and technology may have changed from when its early days, our parchment production methods remain largely similar, with much of the process still being done by hand with basic chemicals, simple but elegant tools, and a little mechanical ingenuity.

Thank you to Stephen for coming to present and for agreeing to let us post recordings of his presentation and demonstration online!

Video from the presentation:

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: Slide presentation

Part 3: Parchment creation demonstration

Part 4: Post-presentation parchment demonstration

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