Local Presenters

Barbara Schmelzer

barbara-schmelzerBarbara studied bookbinding at the Buchbinder Kolleg in Stuttgart and obtained her Master Bookbinder qualification at the Berufliches Schulzentrum Alois Senefelder in Munich. She has 25 years of binding experience running her own bookbinderies first in New Zealand and now in Sydney, Australia. She specialises in one-off specialist projects, limited edition bindings and boxes, fine binding, book conservation and restoration and teaches advanced bookbinding. In 2013 she won the Society of Bookbinder’s UK 1st prize for case binding and in October 2018 won the Sydney Rare Book Auction’s Bookbinding Competition.


Julie Sommerfeldt

julie-sommerfeldtJulie Sommerfeldt is Manager of Rare Books & Special Collections (RBSC) at the University of Sydney Library. RBSC is one of the largest rare & special collections in Australian University Libraries, containing many significant collections and treasures. Currently, one of Julie’s primary aims is to raise the profile of these wonderful and rich collections and to continue to develop opportunities for their use in a variety of ways including traditional education and research activities as well as non-traditional forms of outreach. With a Masters in Conservation Studies from the UK specialising in books and library materials, Julie has worked as a book conservator internationally, most recently at the Bodleian Libraries, the University of Oxford. Prior to that, she worked in Sydney with Bookbinder and Restorer, Sabine Piérard (now in France), and as a conservation framer at ASA Conservation Framing.


Kay Söderlund

KSoderlundKay Soderlund, Director of Preservation Australia, has worked as a conservator for over 35 years. With a Bachelor of Applied Science in the Conservation of Cultural Materials (1982) from the University of Canberra, she has worked at various institutions in NSW including The Australian Museum, the Powerhouse Museum, and the State Library of New South Wales where she headed the project to conserve several journals of the First Fleet. Kay has worked primarily in private practice since 1986, as well as working for some time with Museums Australia (NSW) – firstly as a conservator, then as Director. Preservation Australia is a boutique conservation business that specialises in paper conservation – including large format, works on paper, books, and photographs – as well as preventive conservation consulting, including Disaster Preparedness.  It also runs workshops in conservation areas throughout Australia and SE Asia, and has an archival products side of the business – Conservation Resources.


Joy Tonkin

joy round

Joy came to bookbinding in the early 1990s.   She is a graduate of the University of Canberra in paper conservation and has studied in Ascona in Switzerland, Belgium and Italy.    Joy and John run a book arts business in Canberra.   They specialize in conservation and restoration of rare books, works of art on paper, and one-off fine designer bindings.   They are experienced teachers and offer a range of instruction in the book arts.   Joy exhibits nationally and internationally and her work can be seen in many international collections.

Karen Vidler


Karen studied fine bookbinding and paper conservation at Guildford College before completing post graduate studies in book conservation at West Dean College. Her area of specialisation is the assessment of bookbinding leather for bookbinding and conservation work.  Her current research, as part of her studies for an MA in Education, explores better ways of teaching bookbinding and conservation skills in higher education and vocational training. Karen has worked as a Book Conservator with the National Archives in Kew, London, the V&A Museum, London and The Leather Conservation Centre, UK.  She has managed Book Conservation Services since 2006 and taught in the UK, Australia, Europe and East Asia.

Further information about Karen’s practical work and teaching can be found at:
Website: www.bookconservationservices.com/staff/portfolio

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