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Dick Carpenter


Dick Timmerman (80 years old)

Married to Els, 3 adult children, 5 grandchildren

Old profession: handicraft teacher at a secondary school in Almelo

Current Passion: Parchment Maker. 

readherea nice article about him on the

Dick's words of wisdom for mid-lifers

Dick makes high-quality parchment by hand and supplies goatskins to institutions such as the Rijksmuseum and the Rembrandt House. He also delivers internationally and gives guest lectures at universities on restoration work. His daughter Ellen has been included in the work with the ambition that she will continue to develop the profession and granddaughter Loes has now also been included in the work with her research into the pH value of parchment.  


Learn something you don't know yet

At the age of 52, Dick started making parchment and that involved trial and error, grumbling, throwing away a lot, sometimes running away and then continuing. Why parchment? He didn't know it yet. A consideration can be that simple. As a teacher of handicrafts he was interested in materials, parchment was still unknown to him and his curiosity did the rest. He mastered the craft in 8 years by doing a lot. Just by scraping those smelly goat skins hard and a lot at home in the bathtub, with his wife's permission.  Tot it was so good that the Leiden Archive wanted to use it. Then Dick knew he had a good baseline and development has continued from there. He is now known worldwide for the quality of his parchment. 


What I make lives on

“To understand our present we need to know our history, and I can help with that. We preserve our cultural wealth from the past, such as ancient codices of 1500 years old. What is especially nice is that I get to contribute to the preservation of the richest documents in the world, the manuscripts, God's word, the Biblical writings that are being restored. I do that in the Netherlands for the Jewish Cultural Quarter, for example, and we contribute to cultural preservation in Russia, Sweden, France, to name a few countries. In addition, I am a craftsman and teacher. Working with beautiful materials and transferring knowledge is what I do. Making parchment and transferring that knowledge is a logical continuation of my previous work. How beautiful is it that I can now do this work with my daughter and later perhaps my granddaughter. What I make will live on even after I'm gone.”


What would you like to say to people of my generation who think about their second half?

  • ​"Start thinking about it during your midlife, and well before retirement. You're in the prime of your life right now and you probably have priorities like a mortgage and college kids, but keep your eyes peeled ahead. It may feel like worrying about a period you don't even know if it will come, but it's essential to keep going through life meaningfully. 

  • We live in a wonderful world with wonderful people, in which much is focused on the self. Try to lay yourself down a little more and be of service to others, because then you clear the way for new things. Do not focus on the money, but on being meaningful to serve the other. Our parchment gives us little financially. We get paid in the satisfaction of meaningful work and worldwide relationships who are extremely happy with our product. 

  • Satisfaction has a beneficial effect on others. If you are happy, your wife is too. That's how it works in a marriage."  


I'm always looking for new and exciting opportunities. Let's connect.


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