Bad jokes and good work
The big moment has come! Today was the day that we all could begin our practical work. Everyone was pretty excited and happy. Mapping and measuring are behind us.
There was a lot going on with each object. ,,The tree” is especially interesting . It consists of many different materials, which pose several interesting problems for conservators. One of the materials that is especially challenging is the cardboard. It behaves very differently from canvas. Some possible damages are: delamination (because the cardboard consists of many layers), broken parts, folds, acidification or it can buckle because of water. We have all of these issues! It is therefore a very exciting material to work with.
The first task was the measuring of the pH. Next cleaning tests were done with polyurethane sponges to test how well the pigments were bound. From this we decided to dry clean the back of the tree with sponges. However, at the front the pigments are loosely bound and cleaning will be done by gentle brushing and vacuuming.
The group working on the hut also conducted cleaning tests to judge the adhesion of the paint-layer. Every colour was tested separately. The most sensitive pigments are brown, red and green. They have to be careful when working with them!
The borders weren’t forgotten either. The conservation treatment of border 001 started with cleaning by gentle brushing and vacuuming. Thereafter, the batten was cleaned with smoke sponges. Border 002 was removed from its temporary storage box, and the condition checked. Despite many applications of consolidant during last year’s summer school, the pigments are still not completely adhered and it was decided to apply one more coat. The blue, brown and orange areas will need two more coats. A solution of 1% sturgeon glue has been prepared and is waiting for use in the refrigerator.
Updating the documentation in the evening. The occasional bad joke keeps the spirits up.