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Subject: Displaying embroidery

Displaying embroidery

From: Barbara Appelbaum <aandh<-a>
Date: Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Jerry Shiner <info [at] keepsafe__ca>writes

>Christy Jones <litsavant [at] hotmail__com> writes
>>We have plans to display a piece of embroidery, roughly 15 inches
>>square, fraying at the edges, rather worn. Currently, the plan is to
>>have it sandwiched between two pieces of glass and then the whole
>>assembly will lie at (probably) a 30 inch angle [sic] on a plinth.
>I fear I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill here, as the object
>is made of cloth, presented in a tiny microclimate that is easily
>passively controlled (by the object itself), and the object and
>display frame are rather small. However...
>A rag paper mount board will provide extra buffering from humidity
>changes as well as better support for the embroidery. An appropriate
>mount board would be unbuffered, and pre-conditioned to the desired
>target humidity. If the proposed glass backing sheet is used, the
>embroidery could slip downwards on the glass surface, encouraging
>dreaded slumping.
>Over a small span, and with only the weight of a scrap of
>embroidery, there should be little tendency for glass or acrylic
>glazing to sag appreciably, however, I would suggest the use of a
>sheet of fluted polypropylene ("Coroplast") as rigid backing below
>the museum board. Coroplast backing will also improve the
>maintenance of the microclimate, as it will reduce moisture transfer
>through the museum board.
>Going a little further by asking a framer to use rag mount board and
>a rigid backing board, as well as low reflection glass will not be
>an extravagant expense for a small frame, considering the work you
>will be doing to create a plinth. The resulting microclimate will
>extend some protection from pollution and inappropriate humidity

Did I miss something?  Why is the piece to be laid on a piece of
glass?  If it were put onto a fabric-wrapped piece of ragboard, then
it wouldn't tend to slip down.  And if the fabric were a decent
match for the background of the object, then it would mitigate the
untidy look of the edges.  Will the whole thing be in a case?  If
so, then I don't see the need for the glass on top.  At a 30% angle
laid on a toothy fabric, I would expect it to hold fine.  The idea
of sandwiching things tight is to allow vertical display, (and
usually soft material has to be incorporated into the package).  A
slant-board is designed to make sandwiching unnecessary.

If the embroidery has any substantial thickness either front or
back, that is another reason not to sandwich it between  unyielding
sheets of glass or,at least, to lay it on a soft material that can
pad the thick places.  The weight of glass can make embroidery look
smooshed. (A useful technical term!)

Barbara Appelbaum
Appelbaum and Himmelstein
444 Central Park West
New York, NY  10025

                  Conservation DistList Instance 22:8
                  Distributed: Sunday, August 3, 2008
                        Message Id: cdl-22-8-003
Received on Tuesday, 29 July, 2008

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