Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Freezing green wood sculptures

Freezing green wood sculptures

From: Elizabeth Wild <lizwild68>
Date: Friday, March 19, 2004
I am an objects conservator working at the Queensland Art Gallery in
Australia. Our institution regularly collects sculptures by
contemporary Aboriginal artists in tropical and rainforest areas in
Australia. The sculptures are generally made from green softwood and
then painted with acrylic paints. Splitting or dimensional changes
are not uncommon in the wood months/years after it is collected.

Another issue is infestation which we have currently been treating
mainly with methyl bromide fumigation. We have ruled out low oxygen
due to the size and thickness of some of the pieces, the time
required to achieve effective low oxygen levels and its inability to
kill borer eggs. Heat would affect the painted surface. We are aware
of the limitations of methyl bromide in terms of penetration but
this has been weighed up as our best option and has so far proved
effective. We have been apprehensive to attempt freezing because of
concerns of further splitting and dimensional changes in the wood.
After reading Ellen Carrlee's recent article "Does low-temperature
pest management cause damage?..." in the JAIC (42(2003):141-166), we
have renewed hope that freezing may indeed be a viable option for
us. We have access to excellent freezing facilities and would be
thrilled if it proved to be safe.

Has anyone attempted freezing similar material? I would be
interesting in any discussion on this issue.

Liz Wild
Objects Conservator
Queensland Art Gallery
PO Box 3686 South Brisbane
Queensland 4101
+61 7 3842 9296
Fax: +61 7 38448865

                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:61
                 Distributed: Wednesday, March 24, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-17-61-021
Received on Friday, 19 March, 2004

[Search all CoOL documents]