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Profession: book and paper conservator

What does a paper conservator do? Whom does she work for? What skills and knowledge does she ought to have? Preservation and conservation, a field linked to science, history and arts and crafts. A video explains what differenciates us from forgers and shows -among other- how we produce a hand-made suction table to restore paper artifacts, with loads of creativity, a feature most necessary to become book and paper conservator.

No gordian solution for the resilient conservator

To trim or not to trim. Is that the question? A book conservator deals with main ethical considerations. Sometimes because of the customer desire's, and most of the time seeking an equilibrium between preservation and functionality. To top it up, we expect the result to be pleasant as well: not too new, not too worn; most original, but not too weak... Rare is the case when we find a salomonic solution that satisfies all the requirements. I guess a conservator is not the type who cuts the gordian knot, but rather one who tries to unlock it no matter how painful that is!

Housing as a (quite desperate) conservation resource

New artwork arrives at the studio to be ready for an exhibition: pressure, limited time, bleeding inks... Could it not be some other easier and more showing off artefacts? Here's what I do when I don't seem to find much to do: Tape removal, and failing to flatten under tension with magnets... Mounting the artwork on a housing that secured an even tension on the artwork during the exhibition, was the last resource.

Silver Mirroring: Its Importance, Formation Process, and a New Elimination Procedure

New Elimination Procedure for Silver Mirroring. Silver mirroring is a type of deterioration that appears in most gelatin developing-out paper (DOP) historical photographs and black-and-white films. Its treatment involves so many problems that it has often been ruled out. In this article we present a new and simple elimination procedure, which is efficient and offers stable results in the long term. The study of the causes of the formation of silver mirroring sheds light on aspects that had been little explained so far: the fact that this type of deterioration always appears on the surface of the image leads us to consider a mechanism of transport of electrical charges.

Unlocking St. Anthony’s locked manuscript

"Tony, Tony, come around, something’s lost and can’t be found!" Some manuscripts require more than just manual skills to succeed in their conservation, and so we prayed to Saint Anthony to help us unlocking the bookbinding, whose key had been lost forever. Certainly not many renaissance bookbindings have an iron safety lock in their covers and thus this extra holly help was deemed quite necessary. The prayer didn't provide any key, but at least a satisfactory conservation solution was achieved!

Gels, microemulsions and nano-systems applied to pressure sensitive tape removal: latest updates

Tape removal, chemical and physical gels, microemulsions and much more. Review and abstract of the conference "Nanosystems. Application to tape removal on cellulosic supports,", which took place in Madrid (Spain), on June 6 to 8th, 2018; within the context of NanoRestArt, the european Research and Developement project.

Sōkō conservation for oversized sketches by Sorolla

Sorolla sketches represent the spontaneity, the genius and the creative stage for its own right. Their conservation shares with them this essentiality, the minimal intervention character. The restoration has adopted japanese tools and techniques, a paper conservation at the most eastern style. Or not that utmost, since the Karibari was replaced by a wooden board. Eastern or western, the restoration of the gouache sketches has been truly remarkable, and you'll have to read it to know why.

The diplomatic neutral colour

What is a neutral colour? Is it a pH=7 colour? A transparent colour? Greenish... brown? An oil colour... or maybe acrylic? Conservators mean by it: "I will paint the missing area with a single colour which you won't see much". It can be green, purple, pencil coloured or either with acrylic paints... Controversial is on the cards and whatever we do, even when not doing anything at all, conservators know that our decision will not suit everyone's taste.

“Customized” conservation with Richard Wolbers

Fellows of joys and sorrows, conservators, here is why I am so excited with the "Cleaning workshop: Paper bathing/stain removal", given by Wolbers: The idea is to make every conservation treatment a kind of custom-made dress for each particular object with a minimal initial investment. He speaks about solvents, gels, surfactants, conductivity and pH. Nor in my wildest dreams had I imagined such a close, easy and useful chemistry. Thanks a lot Richard, we owe it to you.

Chemists and conservators: a love/hate relationship

A cathartic experience: There's nothing more exciting for a conservator such as participating in a chemistry course. We go there with a certain respect (or maybe fear) and the will to be acquainted to a new miraculous reactant that will change our life. The poor conservator will poorly be able to discuss one to one with a chemist, either about the reactions that happen during the restoration treatments or along the inherent ageing of the artefact; and yet we must call the chemist into question and keep this dialogue alive. But thanks to Richard Wolbers I made peace with chemistry and their scientists.

Tracing paper conservation, berliner style

I never enjoy anything as much as visiting other paper restoration studios, especially if they are private. They usually bear the imprint of a personal vocation, a personality which is barely present at institutional studios. I watch the space distribution, the tools, the jars... at Hildegard Homburger's studio. Is there a better way to nose around than becoming a berliner restorer for two days?

New conservation methodolgy to retrieve lost flexibility to brittle tracing papers

Approach to a new methodolgy to retrieve the lost flexibility to brittle papers. Tracing papers -so usual among technical drawings- have in common their transparency, but there are significant differences in the process to make them. The properties and behavior will be very different then. Impregnated papers, for an instance, were applied oils or varnishes to provide them translucency. Explanation restoration of several drawings in which the varnish was removed to replace it later.

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