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consolidation

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!

Retouching, a taboo in paper conservation?

Retouching is among the most sensitive within ethics in conservation since it means to establish the aspect a restored object is expected to have. My opinion is that the looks of an historical object is often as important as its physical-chemical condition, and not intervening provides poor results that might mislead its readability more than a proper intervention. The more we intend to make it as neutral as possible, the least arbitrary, we need to admit that retocuhing requires good taste.

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.

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!

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.

Endbands, headbands and ties

The headband to a book is like the tie to a suit: they both give their owner the chance to stand out. It is like the icing on the cake of the binding, and gathers the bookbinder's proficiency and taste. We'll discuss their aspect like in a Vanity Fair, and go beyond: What are they meant for? and why stuck-on headbands are less cared by conservators than sewn ones? Should we replace them or conserve them? The untrained eyes will look at them with more interest now, because -just like ties- there are headbands for all tastes!

Conservation of ‘The Disasters of War’, by Goya

There are all sorts of projects, and when Mr. Goya knocks at the door, the red carpet is ready to receive him at the studio: Please, come in! The Disasters of War by Francisco Goya arrived at the studio in a fairly intact condition, with its 80 etchings, corresponding to the very first edition (in later editions two more etchings were added, making a total of 82). This first one was edited in 1863, more than forty years after

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?

Posters conservation: virtual inpaint vs “virtuous” retouching

The bike riders from Sants reached my studio squeaking, rather than cycling! Tears, foxing, discolouration, brittleness, acidity... All these damages have been carefully restored in order to let the splendorous riders finish line at the Municipal Archive of Barcelona. They are almost centenarian... and yet they ride wild along the repository! I'll explain which beauty and health treatments these illustrated posters have passed through

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.

Damned “sellotapes”!

Which damages cause sellotapes? Can we release documentary heritage from these fatty strips? Explanation for the degradation mechanisms of this historic "remedial" tapes that we can find in documents of all kinds, and restoration possibilities in each case.

Conservation of school poster from spanish civil war period

This map represents the typical scholar posters: with its wooden slats to roll and hang, lined on the back. It was very common to varnish them with shellac to waterproof and protect them from abrasion. This one was made of two pieces of printed paper, sticked together along the central horizontal stripe. It is from 1936, spanish civil war was barely breaking. Removing the old varnish has allowed to repare other minor damages: tears, gaps and wrinkles. But most important is that the new varnish is not oxidizing nor yellowing. As it is very flexible it will not crack in the future.

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