September 2000 Volume 21 Number 3

Conference Review

Adhesives for Textiles and Leather
Professional Development Workshop
May 4-7, 1999 and May 11-14, 1999

In May of this year, the Canadian Conservation Institute sponsored two four-day workshops focused on adhesives suitable for use in textile and leather conservation.

The sessions incorporated both lectures and hands-on experience working with adhesives and mending materials. At the start of each half-day session, the entire group remained together for one or more lectures by a wide range of speakers, then it was broken into two sections which alternated between the textile and objects laboratories for practical experience working with the adhesives.

The textile sessions were led by Michaela Keyserlingk. Carole Dignard supervised the leather sessions. Other speakers included Nancy Binnie who spoke on health and safety and Janet Mason who gave several case histories of adhesive treatments for skins and leather. Season Tse reviewed textile research at CCI and Gregory Young did the same for leather research. Several workshop participants also spoke and Fiona Jones hosted a tour of the conservation labs at National Archives of Canada in Gatineau.

CCI staff chose the adhesives to study based on materials which were cited in conservation literature as having been found useful to adhere either textiles or leathers. Included were water based adhesives, solvent based adhesives and heat set adhesives. The practical workshops allowed the participants time to experiment with various materials and methods of application.

Both the chemical and physical properties of the adhesives were studied to determine which material was most suitable for each of several uses. All of the participants received a large binder with samples of materials they would be using in the workshop sessions, copies of articles related to the research, a list of suppliers of the materials and appropriate MSDS sheets. On the last day of the workshop, each of the participants attempted to remove their repairs in order to evaluate their strength and reversibility. Following that, the group joined together and voted on which of the adhesives and substrates which they felt were most useful. From this information, Jane Down created a written summary of the results for all to keep.

The sessions were extremely well organized and thorough. Material was clearly presented throughout. The instructors incorporated a tremendous amount of information in the course and if there is any criticism, it might have been better to have extended the workshop to five days. On the last day there was a general rush to accommodate everything that needed to be done. Everyone who attended felt that this was a very worthwhile workshop. It is possible that the workshop will be repeated next year.

Linda A. Strauss

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