Today was a big day!
Today we could finally start to consolidate our paint layers after the large amount of preparations in the form of documentation, cleaning and testing. We were all really excited and worked like bees right from the beginning of the day. Mixtures were prepared and all the required equipment were laid out ready for action.
First, the canvas was pre-wetted using a mixture of ethanol and water. This was necessary in order to lower the tension of the canvas surface enabling penetration of the glue into the paint layers. We used sturgeon glue and started with a concentration of only 1% consolidant. The reason for this is that we do not want to create a film on top of the paint surface, a risk we face when using higher concentrations. For this type of treatment we use an airbrush, a gentle way to apply glue on a matt and powdery paint. The consolidation process takes a lot of time because it must be repeated, and after every application the canvas has to dry.
During this breaks we started securing the edges of the canvas. It turned out to be a fairly difficult and time-consuming process since there were many loose threads. Using pins and tweezers, we tried to weave the warp and weft into their previous place. The fact that threads were worn and destroyed by oxidation did not make the task any easier, but we tried our best, and by the end of the day we were pleased with the result.
Fig. 1 Before and after securing of the threads.