iBB Podcast #4 – Rita Udina. Paper and Book Conservation, Studio Tour, and Q&A

Our podcast’s guest is Rita Udina, a book and paper conservator from Barcelona, Spain. Rita shows her fantastic studio, we talk about her projects, and answer questions that were sent by our followers!

See the timestamps below if you want to skip to some particular part of our talk.



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Table of Contents

02:08 – Beginning of the career

Studio Tour and Current Projects

03:12 – Beginning of the tour
06:01 – It’s good to have lower and higher tables for sitting and standing work
06:49 – Lying presses and a plough
07:35 – Folded map in repair
09:30 – Pencil drawing after restoration
10:21 – Wet area
12:13 – Dry area
12:20 – Ledgers in restoration
14:14 – Book with a folded map that was restored
16:18 – Working on vintage and antique books with cheap paper covers
18:37 – Older spine found under a newer spine
19:39 – A way to reattach fragile paper covers to that type of books with Japanese tissue
20:56 – Covers waiting for paper pulp filling
21:49 – Vellum cover book with sever insect damage after restoration
24:56 – Making a book accessible for future use and research
26:01 – New cover with a cat’s paw pattern inspired by an old cover and ethical issues that come with that project


30:47 – Question from Janet L. Mente: Do private clients ever ask you to “restore” a rare book in a way that is against the modern philosophy of restoration?

33:38 – Question from Tzvi J. Liberman: How do you restore gaps in pages using paper pulp?
34:18 – A bit of demonstration
38:13 – Leaf casting machine
40:13 – Japanese paper

41:40 – Balancing conservation, restoration, and introduction of new elements
44:04 – Routine and repetitive aspects of conservator’s work
46:39 – Maintaining ritaudina.com in three languages
48:34 – On English words replacing terms and professional language in local languages

51:27 – Question from Piotr Wieteska: What are the proper ways of paper mending in restoration of torn pages?
I’m especially curious about the „state-of-the-art” methods for mending and the ways for determining the paper type for filling the losses (I’m just assuming that filmoplast R is not the only method and it’s also not the best one 😉

53:37 – Question from Hans Christoph Ruber: I’m pretty allergic to it (breathing) & I often run into books that are slightly mouldy at the spine, just barely noticeable from a slight smell. Reading them at home is impossible, I have to go to a park. Is there anything I can do?
55:41 – Always test before using solutions on your materials

56:37 – Question from Hans Christoph Ruber: Our National Library in Vienna uses a recent technology, non-invasive, with vacuum bags with humidity indicator, wherein the book is placed for a few weeks. Unfortunately, they refused to tell me about the system, respectively, where to get the bags from. Is this already a known technique?

1:00:32 – Question from Ivan Gulkov: I have a relatively new book (about 5 years old) that has started developing some serious molding, that sticks pages together and shows as multiple yellowish spots. Is there anything that can be done to stop the spread?

1:04:07 – Question from Boris Horemans: Often with old books on history or geography, you find elaborate maps that are bound with the rest of the signatures, often resulting in torn and damaged maps. When rebinding these books, how would you incorporate these maps?

1:06:01 – Keeping and storing books that are not going to be repaired
1:07:52 – Cancelled courses and events and plans for the future

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