A workshop with Julia Miller
June 18-19 (9:30am – 5:30pm)
At the Gladys Brooks Book and Paper Conservation Laboratory, The New
York Academy of Medicine
To register, please call Rachel Lapkin at 718-817-8754 or email
Workshop Fee: $215.00 (GBW members)/ $250 (non-members)
Materials Fee: $40.00
The materials fee covers: leather for the cover and attachments (ties
and wrapping band, tackets, spine lining, stays), leather for the
attachment sampler (offcuts from the larger skins purchased for cover
leather), papyrus, paper for the text block, handout packet,
miscellaneous (paste, creme wax, foam core for punching, cardstock for
templates and attachment samplers, etc.).
The class begins with an in-depth presentation on the history of the Nag
Hammadi codices, their importance to the history of the codex, and the
structural differences found among the eleven surviving covers. We will
look at images and models of early book structures; the goal of this
segment of the workshop is to give participants a clear understanding of
the impact of Coptic binding on the subsequent history of the book.
Handouts on the NHC including a reading list will also support our
The primary bench goal of the class is to produce a model of one of the
Nag Hammdi codices, Codex VI; the model will be less than full size.
Codex VI is one of the most intact of the surviving covers as well as
being one of the most complicated in terms of structure. The cover and
attachments will be made with goatskin; the text block will be made with
a suitable paper but workshop participants will have a small supply of
papyrus to use for adding to the text block or using it for cover
linings. Participants will also receive copies of some pages of the
Coptic text of Codex VI to alter and add to their text block.
A second goal of the workshop is the completion of an attachment sampler
that represents the different attachment styles used on all of the
surviving covers; the sampler will be useful in future teaching and also
will assist participants if they decide to make some of the other
Other optional goals include making a sampler representing the three
different cover-to-text attachment styles observed among the NHC as well
as sketching or photographing the elements of the other covers from
reference materials provided by the instructor for future projects.
Julia Miller – bio
Julia is a bench-trained conservator and was senior conservator at the
University of Michigan conservation lab until she left that position in
1994. Since then she has been in private practice. She has also
concentrated on research on the early codex and the long history of the
codex. Key points in her professional career include:
-Guest curator for two exhibits on the history of the codex: Suave
Mechanicals: Early to Modern Binding Styles in 2003 and Elegant to
Eccentric: Bindings from the Main Room of the William L. Clements
Library in 2007.
-Receiving a Samuel H. Kress conservation publication fellowship in 2008
through FAIC that has enabled her to write a book on historical
bindings: Books Will Speak Plain: A handbook for identifying and
describing historical bindings. The book is in the final stages of
preparation and will be published by The Legacy Press in the fall of
-Two visits to Cairo, one week in 2007 to study the leather covers of
the Nag Hammadi Codices, and a second visit for two months in 2009 as
part of a Getty Foundation team to train and supervise Egyptian
conservators from the Coptic Museum and other institutions making an
item condition survey of the manuscript collection of the Coptic Museum.
-Recently receiving a fellowship to visit the Library Company in
Philadelphia for a month to do research on an early American binding
style known as a scaleboard binding.
-Teaching, with a concentration on early Coptic codices, in Ann Arbor
and around the U. S.; my teaching draws on my historical binding
research and although I teach early structures, I try to give my
workshop participants as much information as I can about how the early
structures have influenced and continue to influence the history of hand
Please find directions to The New York Academy of Medicine here: