In between processes
The blog may have been silent, but that does not mean that we, the students of the summer school, have been idle. During the weekend, we and our fellow students have survived on lentils and have been working hard on our projects. Mainly because this Sunday was our chance to showcase our work in progress to the public, and although it was a short day it was multifaceted and exciting.
We were very keen to present and enlighten the visitors about the ongoing project. During our interaction with the audience, we became more self-aware of our own role in this venture to ensure that future spectators can enjoy these objects in the future. At the same time, we experienced the importance of engaging the public and communicating what we conservators do to the visiting crowd.
The audience was introduced to the varying tasks the groups were executing, and we succeeded in giving them a comprehensive overview by visiting the groups one by one. The first group was in the middle of cleaning the back of the tree to prepare it for consolidation. The cleaning was done with polyurethane sponges for the cardboard parts, and smoke sponges for the wooden parts, and notably without any water. As you can see from the following pictures this careful process managed to remove quite a lot of dirt from the objects surface.
A second group was consolidating a border piece, pinning the canvas to large pieces of foam backing to secure it in place so that it doesn’t shrink when the sturgeon glue (actually glue made from fish) is sprayed onto its fibers.
However, it seemed that the consolidation done by the third group fascinated the audience the most. Probably because of the immediacy of the process and the tools being used: the airbrush with a compressor. All in all, the audience was able to see some of the different stages a conservator goes through, and also how many minute details need to be taken care of to ensure a stable and satisfying end result. The feedback that we recieved from the audience was very positive, and many seemed grateful to have been allowed to view the work we were performing for the theatre of Halden. Hopefully the open day itself will inspire the onlookers to engage in questions of preservation that might impinge on their own local heritage.