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Thursday, May 16 • 11:30am - 12:00pm
(Textiles) Covering Up A Sticky Situation

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Of the many ways textile conservators are tasked with treating textiles, adhesive linings are sometimes the best course of action. They provide overall support for otherwise irreparable fabrics, permitting continued study and occasional display. Many times shiny and tacky unspent adhesive is left visible in areas where no original textile material remains. Unspent adhesive is not only distracting, but also collects particulate matter and remains vulnerable over time. This paper offers a solution for cutting down the sheen of unspent adhesive, in turn limiting its negative long-term effects. Conservators at Museum Textile Services (MTS) have developed a method for adhering powdered silk and paper pulp to exposed areas of adhesive linings, resulting in low-sheen and non-tacky surfaces. This method was first used to aid in the restoration of a shattered silk costume from the Shirley Temple film The Little Colonel (1935). The fragile and fragmented nature of the dress made it impossible to create a stencil for voiding the adhesive on the carrier fabric, a method that had been used with very limited success in the past on silk flags. Reducing the unspent adhesive with solvent was not successful because of the hygroscopic nature of the dress silk. Further complicating adhesive-reduction efforts were the large size of the pleated dress panels and ruffles, which could not easily be maneuvered around a suction device. Instead, methods of adding material, rather than reducing adhesive, were investigated. The dress was disassembled and each silk panel was adhered to custom-dyed silk. Powdered silk was made from fragments of shattered silk found in the MTS study collection. The silk powder was distributed over the unspent adhesive on an area of loss and thermoset with a warm tacking iron. Excess silk powder was removed with a gentle brush, collected, and reused. The results were excellent and MTS conservators were able to successfully remediate unspent adhesive in areas of loss throughout the costume. This technique was adapted and used to tone unspent adhesive on three 1840s classroom charts made by Orra White Hitchcock. The highly starched paintings on cotton were first adhered to Holytex. Areas of exposed unspent adhesive were then covered with paper pulp and reactivated with a warm tacking iron. The result was a color-corrected, matte finish that minimized the appearance of areas of loss while maintaining the strength of a full adhesive lining. These case studies, among others, examine ethical considerations and discuss the evolution of this technique.

avatar for Morgan Blei Carbone

Morgan Blei Carbone

Conservator, Museum Textile Services
Morgan Blei Carbone joined Museum Textile Services in 2015. After receiving her BA in Art History from Grinnell College in Iowa, she received an MA in Fashion and Textiles: History, Theory, and Museum Practice at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. While attending FIT... Read More →

avatar for Camille Myers Breeze

Camille Myers Breeze

Director/Chief Conservator, Museum Textile Services
Camille Myers Breeze began her textile conservation career in 1989 at the Textile Conservation Workshop. After earning a BA in Art History from Oberlin College, she received an MA in Museum Studies: Costume and Textiles Conservation from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She spent... Read More →

Thursday May 16, 2019 11:30am - 12:00pm EDT
Oneida/Penobscot Rooms Sky Convention Center, Mohegan Sun
  Specialty Session, Textiles
  • Track Textiles
  • Ticketed Included in Main Registration
  • Authors in Publication Order Morgan Blei Carbone, Camille Myers Breeze
  • Abstract ID 19004
  • Tags textile conservation,adhesive lining,silk,compensation,adhesive