Pergamena: The ancient craft of parchment making

This is a wonderfully informative video on the process of making vellum/parchment, which dates back to 2450 B.C. Jesse Meyer has revived this craft and distilled it down to an art! The process of making parchment involves soaking animal skins in calcium hydroxide, then stretching, scraping and sanding them to a super fine finish as they are stretched. I’m making it sound incredibly simple, but I know the process is highly involved and requires an incredible degree of skill. It’s quite fortunate for the conservation community that Pergamena exists and can provide us with a supply of high quality vellum for restoring and repairing vellum artifacts. In the field of conservation, we mimic the process of vellum’s creation by humidifying and re-stretching it under tension. It’s also an inspirational story about how a family business (over 400 years old!) was saved by developing a niche market. A really fun watch.

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