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Subject: Silk banner

Silk banner

From: Reyhane Mirabootalebi <reyhane.mirabootalebi<-a>
Date: Monday, May 12, 2014
I am seeking some advice regarding conservation treatment of an old
silk banner (dated to WWI) in extremely poor condition.  The banner
is made of two layers of red silk which are joined together (machine
sewn) along the top and bottom borders with separate silk bands. The
textile is relatively large (1750 X 1470mm).  It has embroidered
inscriptions on both sides all over.

The banner is in very fragile condition: the fabric has shattered
extensively on both sides/layers.  It is structurally very weak and
brittle, and shatters with slightest movement.  In addition to
stabilisation and conservation treatment, the client wish us to make
a double-sided mount for it so that it could be viewed from both
sides once it is framed.

The current condition of this textile suggests that full Lining with
an impregnated backing fabric (crepeline or Stablitex) maybe is the
only feasible option as it can not bear any stitching due to its
brittle and weak structure.  The lining seems to be necessary from
one side or even both sides to give the textile some strength.
However, the problem is that the surface is not smooth and it is
raised because of the embroidered decorations so the crepeline
backing wouldn't be completely adhered to the textile.

Another option would be to undo the stitches along the top and
bottom borders, so that the silk layers can be accessed from their
back and the lining to be applied from their back.  However, undoing
the machine made stitches could cause more damage.

Regarding the mounting we are thinking about sandwiching it between
two pieces of acrylic sheets with the borders of the backing fabric
to be attached to acrylic.

I am just wondering if any one has similar experience working with
silk textile in similarly poor and fragile condition and what the
best technique is to provide an effective backing support for it.
Any suggestion regarding the mounting will be immensely appreciated.

Reyhane Mirabootalebi
Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation
Conservation Services
99 Shiel St
North Melbourne VIC 3051
Melway Map Ref: 2A
+61 3 9348 5747

                  Conservation DistList Instance 27:45
                  Distributed: Saturday, May 17, 2014
                       Message Id: cdl-27-45-013
Received on Monday, 12 May, 2014

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