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Subject: Consolidating chalk drawings

Consolidating chalk drawings

From: Elaine Hodges <mnhen039>
Date: Wednesday, September 4, 1996
Mark Vine <100436.3447 [at] compuserve__com> writes

>What might be the appropriate treatment for a set of chalk drawings
>that require consolidation?

Regarding the question of stabilizing or "fixing" chalk drawings,
you might want to experiment by marking other papers with the same
sort of media/chalk, if this is known, and trying different sprays.
A commercial fixative (or fixatif) is Krylon Workable Fixative,
available in art stores. Medical/biological illustrators have used a
spray of 70% alcohol solution (preferably ethyl alcohol, 70-75% with
30-25% water) to fix carbon dust drawings. The alcohol is sprayed
through a simple metal blower sold in art stores for applying
fixative to charcoal drawings--one end is in the fixative, and the
person blows through the other end, forcing the fixative up through
a tube and out a hole that is opposite from the tube through which
one blows. Or a perfume atomizer can be used--more safely.  These
fixatives very slightly darken blacks and do not provide an
impervious coating; in fact, they permit further work on the

One thing to watch out for is that some fixatives will turn white
chalk transparent, same effect on white charcoal.  And the white
"color" does not reappear.  I know that "white charcoal" seems
contradictory, but that is how certain white chalk-like pencils are
described: e.g., "General's Charcoal White pencil."  Art supply
labeling is often quite inaccurate.�

Not knowing quite what is meant by "chalk drawings" I cannot add
much more. I suggest talking to art conservators in museums.

Elaine R.S. Hodges
Scientific Illustrator
MRC 169, National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D.C. 20560
Fax: 202-786-2894

                  Conservation DistList Instance 10:24
                 Distributed: Friday, September 6, 1996
                       Message Id: cdl-10-24-015
Received on Wednesday, 4 September, 1996

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