Friday, May 24, 2013

My restoration project for an old friend


Last year I arranged a meetup with two of my high school pals in Old Town Alexandria. One of whom was my boyfriend for most of high school and some of college.

I was that girl who only hung out with guys in HS
Steve said he had his mother's 1940s ad poster that he wanted me to mount to a canvas and "antique". The little girl is his mother.
I told him  that I would not be a party to ruining this fragile piece of art and that he needed to take it to a restorer. Somehow I ended up coming home with the badly damaged poster and a project to do something with it. Luckily, I really like his mommy and she was super nice to me as a snotty teenager.
I procrastinated, did some research, procrastinated, bought a few supplies, and dreaded the whole process.


Did I mention that it was badly damaged? It had been folded several times and rolled tightly in a cardboard tube. The only thing more damaging would have been a lit match.
I started with a 48 x 60 canvas, distilled water in a sprayer and deacidifying spray.


Restorers repair tears in paper using special Japanese paper to strengthen the tears. I decided that it was so far beyond my skills that I would simply make sure I did not damage it further and ensure that everything I did could be undone.
I dampened the paper with the deacidifying spray and distilled water to relax the fibers.

In some spots the fibers were stretched and it was impossible for me to have it lay perfectly flat. I was using archival wheat paste to glue it to the canvas.


I covered the wet, glued spots with felt and weighted them with books.


I needed a spare hand but the project only took a few hours.


There are a few "bubbles" in the paper but I could not get them flat without further damage.
Next I deliver it and implore them to get a sheet of acrylic to protect it. You hear that Steve...acrylic!?

9 comments:

StagerLinda said...

Kelly, you have mad skills! Bravo! You created a masterpiece by salvaging this wonderful piece of history and family. What a great artifact.

Julie Taylor and Danni Greenwalt said...

Wow...you did a really good job...that must of not been so easy to do!

Heir and Space said...

This is fantastic. I think you took really great steps to conserve the piece. Kudos!

Nancy said...

LOVE this, and learning how to deal with an archival print repair. Great job Kerry!
xo Nancy
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Vel Criste said...

For a novice, I think you did an excellent job Kerry! You did the research and work, and your friend now has a poster to cherish for a very long time! Good job!

Patty Day @Pattys Epiphanies said...

WOW.... WHAT ELSE CAN I ADD................

An Urban Cottage said...

You're VERY brave!

Kimberly Lemmon said...

You are talented on so many different levels. And yes, acrylic, Steve!

Windlost said...

OMG, that is seriously amazing. Yes, I agree with Steve - you are so brave (and you are a genius!!).
I would have run in the other direction. You go girl!

P.S. What are you doing meeting up with old boyfriends?

P.S.2: I was also "that girl".

xo Terri