Friday, February 12, 2010

Wallpaper Samples - Part 3- Finishing Touches

Most of the wallpaper samples were intact, but there were a few with large areas missing. I tried two different treatment methods for these large areas. The first, and simplest was to simply replace the missing area with a similarly colored Morike. I would attach the Morike with paste before adding the Japanese tissue lining to the sample. Then I trimmed the Morike with the lining so it was flush. This is an example of this method.
The second method was to apply a thin Japanese tissue to the top of the sample, barely overlapping, with paste. Then tone the tissue with acrylics. (I think watercolor is generally more appropriate for this type of repair, but acrylic is all I had available. Therefore, I ensured this additional Japanese tissue layer could be removed, even after toning, by testing it on a small area. As long as the acrylic is not painted over the tissue edge, there should be no damage to the sample). I used this method sparingly because it was time consuming, difficult to match colors/patterns, and often unnecessary for the size of the missing area. These are two samples for which I did tone. 
After all the samples were treated, I made labels for each and interleaved sheets of Dove Gray, due to the variation in size. Finally, I encapsulated the samples in polyester film (Mylar) and constructed a screw-post binding (2010).

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Limp Leather Long Stitch Binding

I was recently given some upholstery leather and wanted to find a way to use it. The leather was chrome tanned. This means the leather would be incredibly difficult to par and it's best use would be limp bindings.
To prepare the leather for a limp binding, I lined the back with paper and pressed it to ensure it dried as flat as possible. When I removed the leather, I noticed it had puckered in places from the paper shrinking. Fortunately I was able to fix this by rolling the leather. This unified the puckering and had a nice textual effect, which only worked because the leather was run through a machine at the upholstery factory. I gently sanded the leather to enhance the texture. Next, I trimmed the leather to the height I wanted, leaving the fore edge a little longer to trim later. Then I creased the area for the spine with a bone folder and cut slits for the sewing. Finally, I attached the text block and trimmed the fore edge. This is the end result (2010).

Wallpaper Samples - Part 2 - Wet Board Removal

As previously mentioned, the wallpaper samples I have been working on had two distinct adhesives, spray mount adhesive and gelatin paste. The spray mount could be removed dry by splitting the backing board. I tried to split the board on the samples with gelatin pastes, but the board did not cooperate. I could not get the bone folder between the layers. After struggling with this for a little while, I decided to try wet removal (which is how I identified the gelatin adhesive).
On the first sample, after I had partially removed some board with the bone folder, I dampened the back of the board using a sponge and a spray bottle. When the board was damp, I was able to roll it off in small amount with my thumb. With additional moisture, this proved more successful and I was able to remove board all the way down to the back of the paper. At this point, I decided to try soaking the sample. I spot tested the inks and when they proved water stable, I moved the sample to a warm water bath (supported by Reemay) and soaked the sample for about 10 minutes. Then I removed the sample, flipped the tray and used it to support the sample so that I could work on it over the sink. I was able to sufficiently  remove the board by rolling my thumb over the surface and picking up the final pieces with a spatula. When all the board was removed, I pasted out the sample on a piece of Mylar and lined it with Japanese tissue. Then I dried it between Reemay and blotting paper under weight.
These images show a sample before treatment, after wet removal of the board, and with an untrimmed Japanese tissue lining.
This process took longer, but the end result was much cleaner. I was able to remove ALL the board, unlike with the dry removal. And the risk of skinning the paper is greatly reduced as the adhesive gives.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Wallpaper Samples - Part 1 - Dry Board Removal

I recently began a new project dealing with hand painted wallpaper samples from the late 19th century. There were twenty-eight samples in total, in a variety of sizes. All of them had been mounted to boards, but with two different adhesives. Some were attached to just a backing board with a gelatin paste, and others were matted and attached to a backing board with spray mount adhesive. There was also a variety of damage to the samples. ranging from creasing to tears to large sections missing. Because space in the lab was limited, I divided the samples into four groups (based on level of damage) so I could removed them from the stacks in smaller increments.The ultimate goal for these samples was to remove the acidic backing boards and line with Japanese tissue for stability, then construct a box to house the collection.
As previously stated, there were two distinctly different adhesives which led to two different methods of removing the board. Fortunately for those that were matted, the mat boards were cut larger than the backing board and taped together on the back. Because there was not adhesive between the sample and the mat, I was able to simply remove the tape on the back and thus remove the mat. I found a surprise in one of these worth photographing.
Because the spray mount adhesive was not water soluble, I had to remove the backing board dry. I did this using a shaped bone folder. I removed the board slowly, in layers. Luckily these boards split easily. I continued removing layers until I was as close as I could comfortably get to the paper. Some areas lifted clean away from the paper without fuss. For the areas where the board was well and truly stuck, I used the bone folder to gently scrape and the surface and thin the board down to the last layer before the paper, and left it. Forced removal would skin the paper. The following picture shows this process about halfway through, and the tool used.
When the backing board was sufficiently removed, I pasted out the wallpaper on a sheet of Mylar and lined it with Japanese tissue. I dried the samples between Reemay and blotting paper under weight to keep them flat.
I did have some minor issues on the first couple samples with skinning the paper. After I began to get the hang of it, I realized this was because I was trying to take off too much backing board at once. I also found that when I was down to the last few layers, the thinner I could get the board, the easier it came away from the paper.
In the next parts I will discuss my wet board removal method, and how I treated the missing pieces on damaged samples.