Portfolio & Specialisation

Brief Biography

Karen Vidler (FIIC, PMAICCM) began her journey into the Book & Paper conservation profession in 1993. This journey started as a Conservation Technician with the University of Melbourne conducting a condition and conservation needs assessment of 178 Middle Eastern MSS dating from the 12th – 19th centuries. Her formal education includes Book & Paper Conservation, Fine Bookbinding, Leather Technology and a Graduate Certificate in Education (Higher Education). More recently she became a validated teacher with the Society of Bookbinder, UK.

Karen’s is keen to share her fascination for the history, structures, materials and media that compose a book and current techniques for their conservation. She is willing to share this with students and professional conservators during her teaching in higher education, professional development programs and vocational training. She has contributed papers to various bookbinding and conservation publications and is always keen to pass on skills and knowledge through her intern supervision and teaching practice. Karen has managed Book Conservation Services since 2006.

Karen’s practical conservation career in both institutional and private conservation practice has seen an accumulation of skills and responsibilities to undertake minimal and remedial book & paper conservation, design preservation programs, teaching and project management. She is skilled in prioritising workflows through the stages of conservation – from the client consultation, examination and testing, written proposals and photo-documentation, allocation of time and resources and staff training.

An Improved Understanding in the Conservation of Leather Bookbindings

Karen Vidler pursues ongoing research and training into the conservation of leather bookbindings. She has attended academic training in leather chemistry & technology as well as the hands-on manufacture of leather. She applies current research in improved examination and treatment of bookbinding leather into her professional practical and teaching work. Her areas of particular interest are acid decay (red rot), age hardening and fire damage in bookbinding leathers manufactured from the middle ages through to modern tanned and finished leather. As well as developing improved techniques for repairing leather bindings to reduce the need for removal of the original leather.

Currently, the specific requirements and techniques for the preservation and conservation of leather bookbindings are frequently misunderstood. Karen is keen to improve the general awareness of bookbinding leather through presentations, publications and training. Her most recent publications ‘Conservation of a leather binding: the Louise Hanson-Dyer album of autographs’ (2020), Morocco leather: then and now’ (2021) and ‘Honoring the bookbinder: considerations when repairing books (2020) seek to raise awareness of these issues. Click here for her publications

Examples of Work


Cleaning and rehousing collection of parchment deeds


Minimal and remedial book and paper conservation


Happy participants at the end of this one day workshop.

Contact Karen & the Team