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Subject: Paintings on silk

Paintings on silk

From: Barbara Appelbaum <aandh>
Date: Monday, June 7, 2004
Caroline Mary Fry <cmfry [at] unimelb__edu__au> writes

>I am an Australian painting conservator working on a small project
>in Hanoi, at the Vietnam Museum of Fine Arts.  One of the items in
>collection which requires treatment is a silk painting (1974)

I have found that the best way to deal with fragile silks is to
avoid anything aqueous--or even liquid!--and use a heat-seal
adhesive.  A polyvinyl acetate resin mixture (AYAA/AYAC) is what we
usually use. B-72 is also a possibility.  The resins can be sprayed
onto  a stretched fabric with a very dry spray to avoid wetting, and
therefore stiffening, of the support fabric.  Or spraying can be
done to a transparent net which is then used as an interleaf between
the original and a colored support fabric. In any case, heat is used
to activate the adhesive *after* it has dried for several weeks
after spraying to make sure there is no retained solvent. Paper is a
possible support as well, but when impregnated with resin can get
overly stiff.  It is easy to adjust the stiffness of a textile to
what seems best in any particular case.  A small tacking iron can be
used to stick the layers together--I assume there is no hot table
available.  The sprayed fabric will of course take on a slight sheen
when mylar is used, but if that is going to look  not so nice in
areas of loss, a piece of regular fabric can be laid against it and
then peeled off when it is stone-cold.  The lint that sticks will
get rid of the sheen of the resin.  This is a very flexible system.
Once you get the hang of it, it turns out to be useful for all kinds
of things, both major treatments and small repairs.  Beva is
sometimes useful, but most people find it temperamental in terms of
what it sticks to and how much of it is needed for a good bond.

Barbara Appelbaum
Appelbaum and Himmelstein
444 Central Park West
New York, NY  10025
Fax: 212-316-1039

                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:73
                   Distributed: Tuesday, June 8, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-17-73-002
Received on Monday, 7 June, 2004

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