The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 5, Number 4
Oct 1981


Update on Toxicity Labelling of Art Materials

At present there is no law requiring manufacturers to warn users of toxic effects of materials used in art, though bills have been introduced for this purpose in the New York State and national legislatures. (Many conservation materials would be covered too by these bills if they became law.) Gail Barazani's column in the October Crafts Report reviewed this situation and assessed progress to date. Excerpts follow:

"While Congressman Fred Richmond's bill, H.R. 6977, introduced in fall 1980 with hearings that attracted national attention, is . . . held over in committee until January '82, its effect has been to stir manufacturers of art materials to move toward a voluntary labelling system. Whether or not H.R. 6977 ever cones to a vote, Fred Richmond's initiative will have accomplished an important objective. Leading manufacturers of art materials talked with artists, toxicologists, and industrial hygienists at the hearings and have continued the dialog at a series of meetings since.

"Joy Turner Luke, an artist who is chairman of the subcommittee on Artists Paints and Related Materials of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), reports that a special task group headed by Woodhall Stopford, MD, toxicologist and industrial hygienist, has formulated a labeling process and is directing it through the ASTM approval procedure. ASTM is the largest voluntary standards-writing body in the world. It consists of balanced representation of all interested parties, manufacturers, consumers, etc. Together these representatives decide on standards of quality, durability, color fastness and other functions, of a wide variety of materials used in our daily life. The addition of the concern for toxicity labeling of artists paints and other materials is relatively recent to Joy's subcommittee. .

"[Over 11] companies have agreed to turn their proprietary formulations over to a toxicologist and to support the expense of an institute such as the American Crayon, Watercolor, and Craft Institute which certifies children's art materials as non-toxic.

"You can write to Congressman Fred Richmond at 1707 Longworth House Building, Washington, DC 20515. If you or your group are interested in working with Joy Turner Luke and her committee, you can write her at Studio 231, Box 18, Route 1, Sperryville, VA 22740."

AIC Board Meets

The Board of Directors of the American Institute for Conservation met at the end of September, Among other matters, they dealt with the format of next year's meeting--there will be some poster sessions this time, which will enable the audience to hear from more speakers, especially those with work in progress or just completed, who are not ready to give a full-length report yet. Beginners will like this as a way to "get their feet wet," and conservators whose employers have not previously supported their attendance at professional meetings can probably expect a liberalization of policy if they plan to take part in a poster session. The American Library Association will also have poster sessions at their conference next summer.

Tim Vitale was chosen as the Chairman of the Committee on Conservation and the Handicapped, and Marilyn Weidner is staying on as Chairman of the Board of Examiners for the Certification of Paper Conservators. The post of Chairman of the Committee on Accreditation and Certification is empty at present.

Friends of the Dard Hunter Paper Museum

The formal organizational meeting of the Friends of the Dard Hunter Paper Museum was held on May 27 in conjunction with the annual AIC meeting in Philadelphia. The Museum is among the world's largest and most valuable collection on the history of papermaking and is located in Appleton, Wisconsin at the Institute of Paper Chemistry,

As an independent association of interested individuals from different fields, the Friends have formed to offer expertise and tine to the Institute for projects of benefit to the Museum. The Executive Council elected at the organizational meeting has contacted the Institute as a step toward defining the activities of the Friends during this first year. Serving on this council for the coming year: Timothy Barrett, President; Kathryn Clark and Karen Garlick, vice presidents; Cathy Baker, secretary; and Elaine Koretsky, treasurer.

For more information about the Friends and to receive a membership form, contact Cathy Baker, Secretary, 18 Brooklyn St., Cooperstown, NY 13326.

Delaware Valley Bookworkers Set Program

The recently organized Delaware Valley Bookworkers Association has decided to have workshops on the following topics this year: leather dyeing, headbanding, edge-treatments, tool-cutting, paper restoration, conservation chemistry, papermaking, and tours of places of interest. Opportunities for group buying will be announced in the "announcements" which are like one-page newsletters. Dues have been raised to $10. The president and secretary- treasurer, Don and Pam Rash, are at Haverford College Library, Haverford, PA 19041.

SAA-NEH Consultant Service

The Society of American Archivists -announces the availability of a conservation consultant service, part of its NEH-funded Basic Archival Conservation Program. Conservation consultants will assist archival institutions in evaluating environmental conditions, collections maintenance, security systems, exhibition practices, and archival procedures from a conservation perspective. The service, which is available on a cost-sharing basis, will consist of an on-site visit followed by a written report which will assist institutions in implementing a conservation program.

Inquire to: Basic Archival Conservation Program, Society of American Archivists, 330 5. Wells, Suite 810, Chicago, IL 60606 (312-922-0140).

Crafts Have It Rough the World Over

In response to a request from UNESCO for comments on craftspeople's needs to be included in its proposed Medium Term Plan (1984-89), the World Crafts Council submitted a report outlining five basic global problems related to crafts: 1) Non-existent or inadequate educational programs; 2) Non-existent or limited communications; 3) Ineffectual marketing knowledge and procedures; 4) Urgent documentation required for lost and endangered crafts; 5) Growing unemployment in industrialized nations, and recognition of inherent unemployment in non-industrialized nations. The WCC holds consultative status with UNESCO. The report was based on replies received from crafts organizations in 23 countries to a letter from WCC President Marea Gazzard. [From the October Crafts Report]

Preservation Concerns of Large Research Libraries

At the American Library Association conference in San Francisco this summer, a group called "Technical Service Directors of Large Research Libraries Discussion Group" met and talked, among other things, about preservation.

This was reported in the RTSD Newsletter for September/October:

"Michigan announced that they had just appointed a preservation officer. Stanford reported the results of a study that found that 26 percent of their titles in the humanities and social sciences are brittle. Berkeley had attacked the preservation problem in a few ways. A disaster plan (in case of floods, etc.) has been prepared. There is a brittle-books program, budgeted at present for $18,000; however, the fear is that there are so many items in this category requiring attention that this will become a 'black hole'; this area seems to be one ripe for a cooperative project with other libraries. Next year Berkeley will work on binding specifications, mending techniques, and preservation microfilming."

Guild of Book Workers Approves New Officers

On June 13, the GBW held its annual meeting and chose the following officers and committee heads:

President - Caroline Schimmel
Vice-Pres./Membership Chmn - Wilton Hale Wiggins
Vice-Pres. at Large - Don Guyot
Secretary - Diane Clare Burke
Treasurer - William M. Klein
Exhibition Chmn - Susanna Borghese
Library Chairman - Stanley E. Cushing
Program Co-Chmn:
Events - Judith A. Reed
Workshops - Nelly Balloffet
Publications Chum - Nicholas T. Smith
Publicity Co-Chum:
Newsletter - Mary C. Schlosser
Public Relations - Janet Saint Germain
Small Exhibitions - Hedi Kyle
Supply Chum - Jean Gunner
New England Regional Rep (non-voting) - San Ellenport
Standards Committee (non-voting) - Don Etherington

Erder Is New ICCROM Director

The XI General Assembly of ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and the Restoration of Cultural Property) has nominated Professor Cevat Erder as its new director. Prof. Erder, a classical archaeologist, played a major role in establishing the Dept. for the Restoration and Preservation of Historic Monuments at Middle East Technical University, Ankara, where he also served as Chairman of the Restoration Dept. (1964-73) and Dean of the Faculty of Architecture (1977- 79). He has been very active in international conservation work. He is fluent in English, French, and Turkish, and has a working knowledge of German and Italian.

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