Textile Conservation: Victorian Tea Cosy


We have several interesting textile projects in the studio this year,
and one of the most challenging is this Victorian Tea Cosy
for a private client who has generously allowed the process to be shared.

Today I began the excavation (disassembly) of the Cosy.
This tiny project (under 15-inches wide) is a complicated piece,
with issues such as cleaning, burnt beading, missing beading,
brittle linen gridwork, missing needlepoint… and it is beaded on both sides!

Above are details of both sides “A” and “B”.

The colors will change throughout as I choose images based on the best details,
and flashes change the color tremendously.
Already, with just a bit of trim removed,
we see the bright green the Cosy once exhibited!


The braided trim releases easily, though there were a few areas where
someone previously hand-repaired the Cosy; these repairs are quite difficult
to navigate without damaging the beaded areas.
The repairs wrapped several layers of thread tightly wound
and traveled deep into the needlepoint field.  Something to think about if you have to create a temporary repair: Hold it loosely!

Once the trim is removed, the Cosy disassembly begins.
Again, there are areas which were hand-repaired and these stitches are carefully cut.

Many stitches were so brittle that when one was cut several more popped apart,
however, it is best not to ever assume and pull, hoping to save time.
It is equally easy that there will be a repair that might rip,
or a strong stitch that holds and you rip the textile.  Patience is key.


The two sides are finally apart, above:
Side B is top, and Side A bottom.


We also see the inside of the Cosy!
While it is unlikely this Cosy will ever by used again,
it once topped hot teas, and the steam embedded dirt on the inside.
We are replacing the inside.

The textile is removed from the lining!
This is the most nerve-wracking work, as the we know the linen gridwork is brittle,
areas are already ripped, and we don’t know the condition of the small hem.
I prefer a stitch-picker to any other cutting device.
I can move the protected blade outward away from the textile, and clip only
the one stitch I see on the tip of the blade by sliding it back.

And we get our first look at the back of side “A” textile.
It is extremely damaged piece!  Besides tears in the gridwork, the dark brown “stains”
on the back are actually areas where beading was beginning to melt!

The color of the various threads tell a story that I interpret once
enough of the piece is apart… This is guesswork, but educated guesswork.
Kate takes notes throughout as reminders.

Black thread added the braid to the Cosy, and this tells me that it
might be original but might be second generation… because…

A dark brown thread may have been used as a basting stitch to secure the top
of the Cosy prior to final stitching of the entire piece altogether.
it lay just below the faded green thread.

A faded green thread hand-stitched the textile to the lining… it appears a khaki color, but up close you can see that it may have matched the original brilliant green yarn!

Finally, the repairs were created using a thicker tan thread, and appear sporadically.

Kate began to lift the lining from the textile, and ran into a snag.
Beads which melted (first image) had also adhered to the cotton batting.
This will be dealt with during the reparation, so the batting was carefully snipped;
we will discuss melting beadwork in another post.

Side “A” is disassembled, above.

A through assessment, and there are a few surprises,
including the cotton batting melted into the textile, and two areas where the previous repairs went too far and tapped into the gridwork.
None of the rips are a surprise, however.


This textile cannot be cleaned until the entire piece is stabilized and all the beads
are secured.  In just this round of gentle handling six beads dropped.

We will be documenting this treatment over the next year;
you can follow along by requesting updates!

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Horseshoe Mystery!

The subtlety of the carving detail on the legs of the carousel horses is extraordinary!

Parker has cleverly placed his identifying mark, “C.W.Parker, Leavenworth, Kan,”
on the bottom of most horseshoes, such as these on the extra-large horse, Terri, above.


The horseshoes are a separate metal shoe on all but the tiny Parker Ponies, below.
Above, a medium older leg completely stripped;
you can see the place where the horseshoe attached with tiny nails.


You can also see the size of the feet on the Parker Ponies
changed over the years: the younger horse with big feet is on the left.

The Mystery:
Some of the horseshoes
have an additional mark!

MPFC cannot comprehend the
importance of the secondary marks.

On the Large Hunter Jumper above,
the Roman Numeral “V” exists…
Is this for “5”?  And why?
Or is it, laughably, a “V” for
Very Very old carousel horse?

We cannot detect a pattern: All the Large Black Stargazer’s extra marks are an “L”,
so you might think, a large horse, right?  Or is that a fifty-year-mark!?
Fifty of these models?  Fifty horseshoes made?
But why are the Water River Horse shoes labeled “L” and he is HUGE,  an extra-large!
And Terri is an extra-large and she has no extra identifying marks…

Plus there is another mystery… some of the horses have two marks on their shoes.  On the Water River Horse, three are marked “L” and one “V”!
Makes no sense, but we are certain the numerals mean something!

On the Medium Pinto Stargazer, above, “37”, the only numerals
that are not Roman, adorn all four shoes.  WHY?

Does anyone know why these
horseshoes are marked this way!?!
The horses are refusing to say!

Follow us for updates on the happenings at the stable!
We will continue to take you behind the scenes!  Currently we have:
Jantzen Beach Carousel Moving Day!
The Jantzen Beach Stable is Full!
Good Monday Morning!
and many others!
To keep abreast of our post, follow us here or
on Instagram (@mpfconservation) or on Facebook !

 

Written by Kate Powell  ©MPF Conservation.
May be printed for your own use ONLY, not for use on blogs without permission.

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JBC: Virtual Sketching!

Carousel horses have always delighted, even in the midst
of virtual games and E-ticket rides;
most of us don’t stop and look at them,
but are seduced by the Wurlitzer calling to us,
and the color and the action and the lights.

Kate runs a group of artists from around the world who paint from images
through a virtual meeting where they all paint a place together and enjoy the company
that comes from sharing.  Each month a different place is chosen and the
Virtual Sketchwalk group makes art from the photos offered for that walk.

This month we did images from the
Jantzen Beach Carousel!

*As you scroll through the slideshow the artists names will appear!*

Follow us for updates on the happenings at the stable!
We will continue to take you behind the scenes… Currently we have:
Jantzen Beach Carousel Moving Day,
The Jantzen Beach Stable is Full!, and the Parker Ponies!
To keep abreast of our posts, follow us here or
on Instagram (@mpfconservation) or on Facebook !

   

Written by Kate Powell  ©MPF Conservation.
May be printed for your own use ONLY, not for use on blogs without permission.

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Happy Valentine’s Day

 
Happy Day!
Love is in the air in the stable!

He’s grinning cuz he’s in need of lots of TLC
and this is the place to get it!
Poor stagazer is chipped and broken and oh my, he is so wonderful…
I love Pintos!

   

Written by Kate Powell  ©MPF Conservation.
May be printed for your own use ONLY, not for use on blogs without permission.

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Parker Ponies

People don’t realize how tiny the Parker ponies are;
I can just about carry one under my arm!

I found a good way to show you…
Letting the studio cats in for a visit with Pinto Pony
(he’s got the turquoise and red bejeweled saddle),
while I did some rearranging and filing.

Pinto Pony on the floor scared Yaman into hiding,
but Savitri and Hari-Gibbs-Fred
thought he was a new playmate.

Last week the ponies were assessed.

It is a bit like a checkup:
every inch of them is reviewed,
and legs and tails
are jiggled to make sure they are
sturdy for a kid to climb on.
We list what needs to be repaired,
which can be a lot when you are 100,
and also to understand their history.

They are so beautiful!

We think these two ponies are different ages.
The White Jumper Pony with the turquoise fringed saddle with the horns is much older.
Her finish is more tattered and worn…
She has teeny tiny little feet, while Pinto Pony’s feet are a sturdy size up!
She’s been repaired many times, so much that her
legs and joints have gotten thick and lost definition…See that on the left?
She has more breaks or areas that need to be stabilized.


She is so old that her repairs were done with copper cladding
not unlike the extra leg we found laying about in storage.
we don’t know why, but doubt a woodworker would do that
because it messes with the structure.
We hope to unravel this mystery; we can do that if we get the chance to
repair a leg or tail with the copper cladding in place.


They look the same
until you really look.
The shape of the
Pinto’s head is fuller,
his eyes bigger.
White’s tail is sweeter,
more defined,
and she looks like
she is watching you…
A little wistfully?

Different carvers,
and even the functionality of
the seat shows thought —
Hers holds your bum better,
and has that nice horn.


But wait!  Pinto has jewels
not only on his romance side,
*that’s the side you see when
you look at the carousel*
but all the way around!

And he’s got that Cruella de Vil
streaking thang going on with his mane!
I mean, he is styling!

Pinto won’t be getting the
makeover that White will…
She’s got enough broken bones that
she’ll get some nice new paint on her!

Keep following us for these
updates on our progress…

 

Written by Kate Powell  ©MPF Conservation.
May be printed for your own use ONLY, not for use on blogs without permission.

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Good Monday Morning!


“Good Morning!”

Yup, we talk to them, saying good morning when we come in…

I’ll worry when they start talking back!

Water Spirit Dappled Grey Horse from the
Jantzen Beach Carousel…

Did you have a favorite?

   

Written by Kate Powell  ©MPF Conservation.
May be printed for your own use ONLY, not for use on blogs without permission.

Posted in antiques, art, conservation techniques, decorative motifs, Interim Report, painted objects, preservation, process, reparation, restoration techniques, wooden objects | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Jantzen Beach Stable is Full!

After what was the best
difficult moving days we’ve ever had
(go here read about that),
the horses and many shields
and cresting boards
are in our studio,
which now has a large room
called the “Jantzen Beach Stable”.

When we come into our secure lobby,
the black peekaboo “Portland Horse” greets us.

The dappled grey water horse and an armored horse share the lobby, though
I admit they are a bit dwarfed in stature by the Portland Horse’s amazing mane.

What a joy to see coming into work!


The Stable holds 8-12 horses.
This is where most of the work will be performed.

The Parker Ponies rest on famous Mason Monterey sofas
in the room where furniture from the historic Frank Crowe Estate resides.
The horses (and carousel) were born within a decade of the lovely colorful
Monterey furniture and they feel simpatico.

The long cresting boards are laid out for assessment, above.

It’s not all about the horses, though.
Chariots and shields are covered with 
lions and roosters and cherubs and posies…
It is a joy to be around them!

Follow us for updates on the happenings at the stable!
We will continue to take you behind the scenes!
You can also follow us on Instagram (@mpfconservation) or on Facebook !

 

Written by Kate Powell  ©MPF Conservation.
May be printed for your own use ONLY, not for use on blogs without permission.

Posted in antiques, decorative motifs, Interim Report, painted objects, preservation, reparation, restoration techniques, wooden objects | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments