Back from AIC

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I have since returned from AIC in a sunny but chilly LA, to a decidedly cool and rainy Chicago. Apparently word is that it got up to 80 something in Chicago while I was gone and was generally gorgeous.

Anyway, just a brief note to mention that Dan Cull has put up a coherent summary of all the Web 2.0 madness that took place under everyone’s noses.

Digital surrogates (aka Photoshop for conservation)

Just heard Adam Novak’s interesting talk about using digital surrogates as loss compensation in the print “Siege of La Rochelle” at the National Gallery of Art.

When to use digital surrogates instead of inpainting by hand:
*can make large time commitment
*area of loss is too large to reproduce by hand
*have access to a copy of same print

Sadly, he chose to use the magic wand tool instead of the much more accurate and powerful “Select Color Range” tool.

I appreciated that he showed each step of his image-altering and print-setup process. Also, he used 4 separate images of the same replacement print to create a “best fit” montage. On top of that, he also had to choose the right kind of paper to match the original print itself. I know from personal experience that this can be a royal pain in the tuchis. And then Golden acrylics came out with a Digital Ground for preparing materials to accept inkjet inks. Which unfortunately is soluble in water, but Golden is working on make a less-soluble version of their Digital Ground.

In the end, though, Novak created a more than acceptable surrogate without the use of the Digital Ground.

LIbrary and Archives collections discussion groups @ BPG

Spent the day in the Book & Paper Group discussion talks about library and archival collections.

Anne Hillam (New York Academy of Medicine) and Renate Mesmer’s (Folger Shakespeare LIbrary) talk “The Use of Rubber Cement for Facing Leather Spines: A Viable Option?” was fascinating. They described their experimental use of rubber cement (boo! hiss!) to face fragile leather on tightback spines before lifting them. Their method consists of applying a microcrystaline-wax barrier layer to the leather, then a layer of rubber cement followed by plastic wrap. Once it has dried, you then can lift the leather as usual and sand the flesh layer down as necessary. Once the spine has been readhered to the book, the plastic wrap can be peeled away the rubber cement just rolls right off mechanically. Like picking dried Elmer’s glue from your fingers when you were a kid, I reckon. They also heartily encouraged all of us to try out this method for ourselves and to do our own research on its effectiveness and any potential drawbacks.

Priscilla Anderson and Sarah Reidell had a great 2-part talk about Adhesive Pre-Coated Repair Materials. They also gave out an impressive handout of both how-to’s and recipes for a variety of pre-coated adhesive repair materials. And their presentation included some how-to videos that I would love to see online. Same goes for the handout! Their handout would make for some great wiki/blog material, esp if people could chime in with their own experiences or recipe-tweaks.

EDIT: PDFs of the handouts from today’s Library Collections Conservation Discussion Group talks can be found here.

Heat-set tissue tips:

*use large piece of glass over tissue, over object, then place heating pad on glass for several hours until tissue is activated & sticks

*use of resins/Beva to infill leather losses – moldable & can be tinted

*wet out pre-coated berlin tissue using Klucel G to avoid adding extra solvent (I think?)

AIC is not ALA

…but I’m liveblogging it anyway!

Best talk thus far has been Joyce Stoner’s “Conservation 1.0” which was really like “All you wanted to know about the history of art conservation but were afraid to ask…in 20 minutes”. Of course the finer points of what was and wasn’t included can be argued about ad nauseum, but it was informative nonetheless. Would make a great video if it were remixed ala Battlestar Galactica’s 8-minute recap video “What the Frak?”

Finally met Richard McCoy, a la “Hi, we’ve never met but I know you from the internet!” Maybe there should be “blogger” ribbons for next year’s AIC, like they have at ALA. OR we could all wear funny hats with large ostrich feathers to pick each other out of the crowd.

Still thinking about whether or not the Web 2.0 communication style is “in our DNA” (per Richard) like it is for librarian-types and museum folk. Conservators seem to not be as quick to embrace this sort of open-source, collaborative, information-explosion type of communication…but there are many exceptions regardless.