Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Visiting Conservator

At the end of September we had the great fortune to host conservator Chiara Minardi from Parma, Italy. Her specialty is working with vellum and executing comprehensive conservation work on texts bound in vellum. Rauner Special Collections Library had recently purchased a volume where the vellum boards were splaying and the pages were previously repaired. This was the perfect item to focus a workshop around. (And it happened to be an Italian book!)


Showing previous repair


One of my favorite parts of the workshop was learning how she washes and treats paper. Once it has soaked in the water to loosen the dirt and soften any old repairs, the previously repaired area is lifted out of the water and supported on a plexi board. It can then be lifted away using methylcellulose to further soften the patch.


Once the old paper is removed the area is once again covered in methylcellulose to soften the glue residue. A brush is used to sweep away any remaining adhesive.

For all steps of treatment the primary adhesive used is methylcellulose. It is also used for adhering, as well as cleaning and softening.

The methylcellulose is brushed onto the wet paper in order to line the page.

A very thin tissue is laid down with the help of a ruler.

Checking to make sure it is well-adhered.

Going over some areas with additional methylcellulose.

Lifting the page.

Placing between remay and blotters.

The page is left under light weights overnight.

This is just one of the treatments we did during the workshop. I will report more in my next post.

Written by Deborah Howe.

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