A bit of everything

This day actually started the evening before with an absolutely wonderful dinner prepared by Douwtje van der Meulen and Vilde Dalåsen, the Indonesian inspired Dutch dish of Rijsttafel, or “rice table” in English. They had prepared 8 delicious dishes from scratch, presenting a sumptuous meal topped by a Spekkoek, a spice cake somewhat similar to pumpkin pie. Now, Douwtje has a personal motto that a person who knows how to cook, will also get the knack of handling chemicals in the lab. Judging by her cooking, she must be really good in the lab.

Fig. 1 Douwtje explaining the dishes. It was a grand feast.


It has been a busy day at the Store. Both groups continued with their consolidation treatments with air-brushes, preparing both 1% and 1.5% solutions of Sturgeon glue. The canvas seemed somewhat sticky right after the application of the 1.5% consolidant, but the glue was absorbed well and no surplus residue remained on the surface of the canvas. A possible explanation could be that the canvas was not pre-wetted enough prior to the application.

At noon, this year’s new KUBE-students (Kulturarv og bevaringskunnskap/ Cultural Heritage Preservation Studies) and their fellow student “buddies” from the Buddy-week at UiO, 14 students  in all, arrived by train from Oslo. They had taken the trip to see what their course offers in the line of practical experience. We ate lunch together, including some of Douwtje’s wonderful spekkoek. After lunch they were given a presentation of the project by us students and our supervisors. A former supervisor now curator of the Halden Historical Collections, Østfold Museeums, Juliane Derry, had also dropped by for the session. Several of the new students expressed an interest in joining the summer course next year. For us who have been here for nearly two weeks, we can only say: You will not regret it!

Fig. 2 The real deal. Vilde Explaining the conservation process to the visiting students.


Group 2 is now on their 6th round of sturgeon glue consolidation, while group 3 is on their 5th. Both groups have tried to reactivate the original glue on the edge flaps of the borders by cleaning them and then moistening the glue between the two pieces using a moistened sandwich of absorbent paper covered on both sides by Sympatex. The absorbent paper was treated with warm water, while the Sympatex functions as a barrier that lets the vapor through, but prevents the fabric from sticking to the paper. Once moistened, the paper sandwich is removed and the two layers of textile are pressed together by sand bags with a sheet of Japanese paper between the bag and the canvas. This treatment functioned on border 2, while border 3 will need to repeat the treatment. Surprisingly, when the treatment is successful, this reactivated glue can actually be quite strong.

Fig. 3 Cleaning before inserting the Sympatex sandwich.

By Beate Kåresen
Published Aug. 17, 2017 4:29 PM - Last modified Aug. 17, 2017 4:29 PM