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Subject: Miyake inflatable dress

Miyake inflatable dress

From: Chandra Obie <chandra.obie<-at->
Date: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
In Conservation DistList Instance: 26:14 Saturday, August 25, 2012
I wrote

>I am looking for suggestions or insight from conservators who have
>worked with items similar to an inflatable dress by Issey Miyake
>that will be coming into the collection of the Cincinnati Art
>Museum.  The dress has inflatable sections that blow up like beach
>balls at each shoulder ("pneumatic dress", 2000).  The 'beach balls'
>don't hold air like they used to due to a slow leak(s).  The dress
>was previously returned to the designer to address the problem and
>it appears the Miyake workshop added more glue to seal around the
>inflation nipple, but the issue remains. The donor (who still wears
>the dress) and the museum would like to keep the shoulders
>permanently inflated-looking, as the artist intended, without
>endangering the dress.  How have others treated Miyake's inflatable

You shared some useful and interesting tips and now our treatment
approach has evolved.

In the lab, we discovered the likely culprit of the air leakage is
the seal of the inflation nipples to the dress.  In the past,
someone addressed the problem by applying a thick layer of adhesive
around the outside of the nipples.  The adhesive has yellowed,
become embrittled, and easily pulls away from the fabric.  In fact,
the adhesive is so weak the nipples can be removed with just
mechanical action.   We would like to reseal the nipples to the
dress, restoring the original appearance and functionality.  Can
anyone suggest a conservation safe adhesive/sealant that would do
the job?

The dress label identifies the fabric as 42% nylon, 40% polyester,
18% polyurethane and "partly 100% polyurethane."  The fabric feels
like a thin swimsuit material and the interior of the inflatable
sleeves (the surface to which the nipples should adhere) is coated
in something rubbery (presumably, 100% polyurethane).  The nipples
are clear rubbery nipples like you would find on any inflatable pool
toy.  Any adhesive/sealant will have to be air tight, somewhat
flexible, and strong enough to withstand the handling necessary to
inflate the sleeves.

C. Obie
Textile Conservator
Cincinnati Art Museum
953 Eden Park Drive
Cincinnati, OH 45202
513-639-2014 desk
513-639-2039 textile workspace

                  Conservation DistList Instance 27:2
                  Distributed: Thursday, June 13, 2013
                        Message Id: cdl-27-2-003
Received on Tuesday, 11 June, 2013

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