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22 December 2011 @ 12:56 am
Up Close and Personal in the Winterthur Textile Conservation department  
Joy Gardiner, Conservator at Winterthur
Up Close and Personal- in the Textile Conservation department
Notes from the workshop:

-Keep backings and such together. Acidity in wood eventually goes away, so keep frames, textiles and documents together depending on age.
-Sampler being worked on was glued to backing using a hide glue, and needed to be removed. There was too much degradation in the black silk for an immersive cleaning. Since the hide glue and the silk floss are both proteins, any chemicals used would need to target just the glue. A solution was chosen, but was staining the sampler, so ultimately decided to mechanically remove the sampler from the backing using a scalpel and a microscope.
-Carefully consider what conservation is needed for any new acquisitions and gifts.
-Late 18th/early 19th century purse of green velvet with metallic embroidery.
-Consider if conservation procedure is reversible or not. Vacuuming and wet cleaning aren’t reversible procedures.
-Cotton reticules on display were wet cleaned to remove yellowing, but sometimes makes stains starker. The silk drawstring in one reticule proved problematic as the cleaner normally used for cotton is more readily absorbed and doesn’t rinse easily from silk.
-Baby cap had some splitting in the fabric, so a wet cleaning wasn’t an option.
-Humidification can create ‘tide lines’ but pushing dirt or sediment to the edge of the treated area. But humidification can be helpful in reducing creasing in fabrics.
-Sulphanated indigo, producing a blue green color, runs easily so is hard to clean.
-Bleached linen can work, and is often a default for mounting conserved textiles, but since many fabrics are dingier the stark white mounting can make it look worse.
-When vacuuming, use a tool with adjustable suction. Use a soft brush to loosen dirt. Cosmetic sponges capture greasy dirt when gently rolled on a piece.
-If an item is nailed in place, check on the nail chronology to see if they are contemporary to the piece and also worth preserving or not.
-Don’t use hydrofluoric acid. Chelating agents need to not disturb the dyes. Reducing agents may undo indigo dyeing process turning blue to a cream/yellow.
-A current project involves a coat of arms textile. The textile was x-rayed and determined that a visible ‘gol’ in white on a black ground was actually painted on in lead oxide. Gold and blue showed up in the x-ray determining which colors went where in creation.
-If stitching on an item, use a #12 or beading needle, and go between the existing threads to prevent new holes. Sometimes a curved needle can be used if the item needs to be kept flat during stitching work.
-For conservation netting, a special bobbin nylon netting, or silk netting can be used. Look like a fine tulle, but not rough in texture.
-Insect pins are nice and finer for mounting.
-For the white silk apron on display, the weight of the metallic embroidery was pulling on the denigrated ground fabric. Initial exhibition design had the apron displayed vertically on the wall, but it had to be mounted on a slant to keep from pulling further. A netting was also used to pin it and hold the apron in place.
-One wool quilt received was determined to have once been treated with arsenic to prevent pests, so it is now a hazard to handle.
-A beautiful roll of silk striped fabric, was unrolled a bit and revealed the original vibrant colors of bright pink.
-Vivak plastic, a heat settable and easily manipulated material, is useful for making custom mounts for special items.
 
 
( 4 comments — Comment )
elmsley_roseelmsley_rose on December 22nd, 2011 05:04 pm (UTC)
This is really cool! Thanks :-)
pinkleaderpinkleader on December 23rd, 2011 02:20 am (UTC)
Have you seen the gallery guide? The white silk apron and the baby cap discussed above are pictured in it: http://www.winterthur.org/pdfs/NeedleworkGalleryGuide.pdf
elmsley_roseelmsley_rose on December 23rd, 2011 09:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks - I'd read it before, but hadn't taken particular notice of those pieces....
grnvixen: Gold Flwrgrnvixen on December 22nd, 2011 06:34 pm (UTC)
Sounds like an expansion of the class from the conference. Thanks so much for posting your notes. It's fascinating to see the science in all this.
( 4 comments — Comment )