Hodges University

Ukraine Artist to Discuss Book Restoration at International College's Rare Book Road Show July 20

There’s a special reason behind Ukraine native Oleksandra Vedenko’s affinity for books.

She lived in the European country during a time of communist regime. It was a time when books that went against the grain of the government’s philosophies were destroyed. So people hid them behind walls, in gardens and other obscure places. Vedenko’s grandfather, Trohim Vrublevsky, kept a private library filled with Russian, Ukrainian, French and other literature. He was eventually killed for his beliefs.

Vedenko learned as a young child to value the printed word and illustrations in books. Around age 10, she instinctively wanted to restore every damaged book she came across.

“Restoration is an important part of my life because it’s connected to my family history,” Vedenko said. She plans on sharing her passion with the public in a presentation entitled, “Restoration of Art Graphics in the Book,” at the Second Annual Rare Book Road Show, July 20 at International College’s North Naples Campus. Her discussion runs from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m.

Vedenko currently does restoration and preservation for Holy Theotokos Monastery in North Fort Myers. She graduated from the Applied Art College and Odessa State University in the Ukraine and received further training through the Kiev Restoration Workshops. Vedenko spent more than a decade at the Kherson Regional Museum in the Ukraine, restoring historical documents, antique printed books and icons from the 16th to 19th centuries.

“Oleksandra is a blessing to the Monastery,” said Deborah Goodrich, who works at the monastery. “She uses primitive means for restoration, yet, her work is world-class.”

Vedenko painstakingly restores books by first visually examining them with a magnifying glass or jeweler’s loop. She then unbinds pages from the book and takes samples of fibers for chemical analysis. This investigation determines what process the restoration will follow. One book can take anywhere from a few weeks or months to a full year, depending on the book’s condition and length. Vedenko will show samples of her work at the Rare Book Road Show and hopes to inspire people to take better care of their books. She also hopes to lure some people into the small field of document restoration.
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