Washington State Flag: Painting


We left off with corrections and tracing the letters.

Know that the subtle shadings of colors from one blank to the next is due
to the artificial versus natural light in the room when photographed,
and fresh paint is much brighter than after it is cured…
also…
The test images were all done with basically one coat; on the final flag,

most colors are getting 2-3 coats on top of the base.  With the drying time
between (4-7 days) it slows the process down a bit.
Some colors dry a bit faster, but I have learned my lesson to be patient.

The Corona virus stopped things suddenly, and I did not get back to
painting for over four weeks.  We could not foresee how it would change our studio other than protocols: NO one in the studio after beginning of March, and
setting up a waiting station of incoming deliveries to sit for several days.
But, clients were concerned and needed to be reassured, pickups and deliveries were canceled, and we had to rearrange the studio for storing finished items long terms.
Painting George is not like doing a bit of touch-up.
I need four hour stretches to drop into painting an image.
The last day it looked like I was interrupted, above, and I was — and I lost mixed paint.
Starting back up I had to clean, remix some colors, and relax into the portraits again.

The lettering was created with a small 3/8-inch angled specialty brush.
I decided not to use the mixed paints because of the separation;
metallic paints have different properties and ways of mixing with other paints.
Instead I painted one the Rich Gold, and two in the Pale Gold.
The lettering was actually the most difficult of the tasks,
because of the way I had to stand with the small brush making precise marks…
I wish I could have flipped the blanks around into various position
to make it easier, but they are large and unwieldy.

It is risky to show faces that are basically blocked in —
A layer of paint must go on underneath on the silk to cover the green,
then fine tuning can be done.  Without 2-3 coats of thin paint the portrait become too textural — something that I do not want in the flag.  Above you can see how as I fine tune (this is still not quite done) he begins to look more like himself; still, his eyebrows
are not quite right, and his nose needs a bit of work.

Below, Portrait #3 as it progresses from transfer sketch to an almost finished face.

Portrait #3

Lining of the lettering, finishing George’s other faces, lace on his blouse,
and coming back for fine-tuning or corrections if needed —
and I am complete with the painting of the portraits.

To begin at the beginning, visit Washington State Flag, 1.

©MPF Conservation.  May be printed for your own use.
May be reposted if our url + copyright is used as reference.

Posted in antiques, decorative motifs, Interim Report, painted objects, process, reproduction, textiles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Washington State Flag: Painting


We left off with the background and the beginnings of the jacket, above.

Know that the subtle shadings of colors from one blank to the next is due
to the artificial versus natural light in the room when photographed,
and fresh paint is much brighter than after it is cured…

The test images were all done with basically one coat; on the final flag,
most colors are getting 2-3 coats on top of the base.  With the drying time
between (4-7 days) it slows the process down a bit.
Some colors dry a bit faster, but I have learned my lesson to be patient.

The undercoats on the face laid in shadows and covered all green.
Do not be worried about the blocky undercoatings; he will look better!
I am a bit uncomfortable showing the face with the undercoats to people
who are not painters — George looks bit freaky!

A second coat on background was added.
An undercoat and a second coat on the hair.

As his jacket was begun, the yellow lapels are added.
A second coat is added to the deep blue jacket.

January-February, there were also three days of corrections.

I felt the lapels were too bright, above, and subdued them in the second coat — the fresh paint is brighter, and I am working against bright green versus the faded olive green, and sometimes adjustments have to be made.

I also felt the primed edge needed to be a more generous.  I traced out the edges again, giving me a tiny bit more “slop” in case.

Frankly, tracings are a stressful as paint —
Again, I can’t clean paint or wayward tracing pencil off the bright green silk.

Next post, I tackle the letters and fine tuning the faces.

To begin at the beginning, visit Washington State Flag, 1.

©MPF Conservation.  May be printed for your own use.
May be reposted if our url + copyright is used as reference.

Posted in antiques, decorative motifs, Interim Report, painted objects, process, reproduction, textiles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Mognat of Paris Steamer Trunk, 2, Prep Work

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This Mognat of Paris family steamer trunk ca 1900, begins here.

The original leather handle was removed as it was terribly degraded:
we will use this as a pattern to create three new handles,
as the handles on each side are missing.

The strapping leather for the handles is hand-dyed:
Three to four layers will be sewn together to create each handle.

EDIT: Though we created strap leather for the trunk we are not using it.
This leather will not be wasted — it is a color that is often found in many chairs and other pieces.  However, the leather we are using for the handles replacement will
be matched to the cleaned leather, which is much lighter in color.

Note the color difference in the front of the trunk and the bottom —
the front and sides once showed off this lovely patterning!
We hope to remove enough grime that we can again see the patterning.

We test cleaned the left-facing outside back of the trunk, beginning with the least
invasive to the most invasive.  The trunk is covered with a type of oil cloth; because of this,  we decided not to test Vulpex because of its tremendous ability to remove oils — it might damage the oil cloth.  We always start with distilled water.  Neither distilled water nor Orvus really had any impact.  We finally tried a mild solution of Borax and organic unscented dishwashing detergent, followed by rinsing.  This moved the grime!

Tests are made, and we are ready to begin.
The oilcloth and the leather will be treated after cleaning to add oils.

Examples of sticker and labels we will attempt to preserve.

Next step, cleaning, creating and reassembling.
Follow to receive new blog posts as they are released!

 

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

Posted in antiques, conservation techniques, Interim Report, preservation, process, reparation, restoration techniques, textiles, upholstery, waxes, wooden objects | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Mognat of Paris Steamer Trunk, 1, Assessment


This Mognat of Paris family steamer trunk ca 1900, has been round the world many times.  The heirs brought it to us to clean, stabilize the inner lining, create new handles, and to preserve the character of the outer trunk memories if possible — stickers!

We do not often have the opportunity to conserve trunks
because they are so expensive to restore — many people think they would be fun,
and then see the price.  But this was a beloved family members trunk,
and the family wants to be able to gently use it in their home.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Above, a basic slideshow showing all sides.

Note the color difference in the front of the trunk and the bottom —
the front and sides once showed off this lovely patterning!
We hope to remove enough grime that we can again see the patterning.

Details of the front.
Note the original handle?
This is the pattern of the handle we will recreate not only
for the front, but the sides as well.

Examples of sticker and labels we will attempt to preserve.

The upper insert with its degrading lining and ties will be removed, cleaned, and stabilized.  The bottom and top lining is in good condition: we will test it for cleaning
and see if it is a good candidate for cleaning while attached.

Note the strapping’s jacquard has the Mognat name woven into the fabric, image 6 above.

Next step, test cleaning and leather prep.
Follow to receive new blog posts as they are released!

 

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

Posted in antiques, conservation techniques, Interim Report, preservation, process, reparation, restoration techniques, textiles, upholstery, waxes, wooden objects | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Chinese Diorama Table, 2


Continuing from the first post of our client’s Chinese carved diorama
from the nineteenth century, we move now to the
reparation of the figurines and decorative elements.

Phase Three, Reparation

We used two glues, hide (we use only Old Brown Glue)
and fish glue (we made this time), depending upon the two surfaces being glued.
I am not fond of the smell of either, though Mitchell keeps trying to
reframe it for me, as he calls it the “smell of success!”

Protocol

  1. The protocol was to make sure the piece was properly positioned before gluing.
  2. The gluing surface was lightly scuffed with a fine, tiny amazing tool called
    Sandits Sanding Sticks, (though we buy them in large lots of the various grits)
    a bit like a Q-Tip dipped in sandpaper.
  3. Hide glue was applied to both sides, being careful not to apply too much — I could not come back and remove excess glue at the risk of removing the decorative colors.
  4. The piece was either shimmed to hold it in place, or held for about ten minutes until it set up.
  5. Broken pieces were allowed to set overnight before a second gluing.

Simpler glued pieces, above.

This little triangular piece of banister needed
a clever shim to hold it against the rocks for gluing!

The intact female was not broken; note she also had a previously applied
wooden shim on her backside (compare to the one below).

The broken female figure had a clean break, however, she was so very thin (no wood shim behind her) that securing her was difficult.  I had little room to create a wood shim, so I used Japanese paper, very thin, very strong, applied in layers with hide glue.  This sat overnight, and the next day I was able to slip her into place.

Reparation completed —
unless we find that newel post!

Above, the entire vignette divided into thirds with the details located in each third.
It is so lovely, I wanted to share!

Phase four, wooden base, next post!

Written by Kate Powell  ©MPF Conservation.
May be printed for your own use ONLY, not for use on blogs without permission.
Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Posted in antiques, art, conservation techniques, decorative motifs, Interim Report, painted objects, preservation, process, reparation, restoration techniques, wooden objects | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Chinese Diorama Table, 1


Our client’s Chinese carved diorama
from the nineteenth century is one
of the most delightful items I’ve had
the pleasure to treat.  It is a pavilion
over water, with big rocks with large
trees of varying sorts along the base.
The upper level is adorned with
beautiful women enjoying their music
and possible various sewing arts, and
flirting with the men below.  Below men
are working, and some are looking up rapturously at the adoring women.
One of the men on the lower level
appears to have a much more elaborate costume, left, and I assume that
this man may have some sort of
ownership or higher standing.

The table also has a wooden form that holds the diorama and
a glass top, both of which will also be conserved.

Phase One, Assess Figurines

When our client brought the table to us, only a few figurines appeared to be loose;
our first phase was to see if others were also loose.
Mitchell disassembled the table so that they could be examined without the glass.

If you look closely at the top image, you can see the torso of the broken figurine (right)
just above the “ns” in our name.  She was the fifth female from the left on
the balcony of the pavilion.  She came apart in a move, and we believe as she fell (her legs were found behind the stair railing) she took the leaves along for the ride.
We haven’t found the location of the bubbly carving — and not sure if it is supposed to
be foam from the water, or an unknown bit of foliage.  I am inclined to the former.

  To test if any other parts were loose, I gently
touched each figurine,
tree, or landscape part
with the dental pick, right.
If it was loose it lifted easily.

Several more tiles, leaves,
and a second figurine,
happily not in pieces, was found to be loose.

We finally discovered the proper location of a sharp triangular piece; it is
behind a tree, part of the lower banister, next post.

Only one part could not be found, and that is a small part of the stairwell, above left.
The newel post is missing, and we know should be there because it has a small gap and cannot be glued in place without it, seen in the right image of the stairs.
It may have slipped and is lodged deep behind the railings, but we could not find it.
(The temptation, of course, is to gently shake it loose but the table is too fragile!)
If it suddenly appears before the table is reassembled we can easily glue it in place.

Phase Two, Clean

Over the years tiny bits of the figurines have sloughed off; it appears as sand!  This was vacuumed carefully on the painted wooden background and over the figurines and decorative building parts with a tiny funneled textile vacuum set on low suction, above.

The sky along the top had
an odd sticky quality to it.
It attracted the “sand” and it stuck to the sky, above right. As the sky is a painted
wooden base, after testing
we knew we could gently
clean it using distilled water and cotton swabs, and the ridge at the top of the sky
was carefully cleaned of
debris and the sticky substance.

You can see the grime removed on the cotton swabs, above left.

We tested the clean-ability of the figurines on the edge of a cloud, above right. A slightly damp cotton swab touched the edge and the blue from the cloud came off on the swab.

THE FIGURINES AND THE APPLIED
DECORATIONS MAY NOT BE WET CLEANED!

A substance that looked like common black machine grease was found in several places on the white railings; we have no clue as to how it might have arrived on the railings!
It was easily cleaned, and as there was no colorful decoration on the railings, it was safe to do so, above.

Above, I leave you with details of the lower right-facing corner of the diorama, and a central portion of the balcony with four women — neither had repairs — after cleaning.

Phase three, reparation, next post!

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Louis XIV Revival Fauteuil, Assessment

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our client’s Louis XIV Revival Fauteuil from the nineteenth century
came in for treatment of the textile (gentle cleaning, and stabilizing from the back),
conservation of original finish, and conservation of the upholstery buildup (innards).
Before treatment images above, though some of the gimp is removed.

We start, as we always do, with a assessment while everything is still intact:
what is seen when taking detailed images is exciting.

The hand-carvings are beautiful and in good condition (a sampling),
above; we found no need
for amendments of broken
petals or leaves.
Hand-carving is easily evident, right, where you
can see the makers
hand marks as a smooth
area was carved.

The original finish is intact, with some flaking of
shellac and a beautiful patina.  The finish is extremely dirty.

When the textile is removed
it will be easier to examine
it for small bits of missing yarn, if any; at this time
we saw only two small areas where there may be an issue.

This lovely gimp is stiff
with either glue or topcoats
of shellac.  What we can see now by removing the gimp trim is that the tacking margin on our textile is small and there are bits of fraying under the gimp.  MPF Conservation has ways of mitigating this without reweaving.

Our next steps are pattern making, excavation of the textile, and cleaning.
As we post more I will link to the next posting: follow us so you are notified of updates.

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, chair, conservation techniques, decorative motifs, Interim Report, preservation, process, reparation, restoration techniques, upholstery, wooden objects | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Treatment: Portrait of 
Marie-Antoinette

Before and after treatment, above.

Our client’s framed oil painting of
Marie-Antoinette fell off the wall and
was scraped in two dozen areas.
Luckily there were no punctures,
but a half-dozen dents or serious
scraps created a need for wax/resin
infills before painting infill.

The painting has no visible signature.
It appears to be a (very old) lovely
student copy of the image hanging in
Versailles, by Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, right.  Students often copy famous
paintings for practice; as long as no
fake signature is applied it is not forgery,
and good student images have value.

Protocol for treatment was to:
1) Gently clean area to be treated.
2) Infill and shape deep indentations (above) and deep scrapes as necessary using
Gamblin’s Pigmented Wax/Resin (PWR) using a wax carving pencil.
3) After curing, paint infill (mixing on palette) to match surrounding areas
using Gamblin’s Oil paint in the following pigments: Burnt Umber, Raw Umber,
Phthalo Green, Warm White, Golden Ochre, Pink Brown,
Van Dyke Brown, odd bits of premixed flesh colors, and Galkyd Gel.
4) Care was taken to match color/stroke patterns in the areas large enough for them to be seen; texture was matched when possible with the PWR before the infill.

Before and after sample areas, below.

Before and after treatment, above.

©MPF Conservation.  May be printed for your own use.
Please ask permission to repost.

Posted in antiques, art, conservation techniques, decorative motifs, Interim Report, painted objects, process, reparation, reproduction, restoration techniques | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Susan’s Crazy Quilt

End of this year I had the pleasure of working on our client’s Grandmother’s quilt.
Pleasure because as I worked on it the imagined original beauty came alive;
pleasure because our client is interested and excited!

As you can see above, her grandmother
created beautiful embroidery!

Out goal was to replace the threadbare patches, leaving intact as much
embroidery as possible.  This meant I could not loosen seams and replace
whole patches because the embroidery was intact.  I needed to patch over
the threadbare areas, while leaving intact embroidery alone.

Then we were to edge the entire quilt as best we could…
and I say this because this was a working crazy quilt, and it appeared that over time patches were added, so the entire quilt was never squared true in any direction.
Originally there were rich velvets, but we could not use velvets because it was too difficult to turn edges under in this situation.  In a new crazy quilt, it is likely that a quilter would lay the velvets flat and turn silk and cottons under over it to achieve the shapes.
We used bits of silks in the place of some of the rich fabrics.

There was a budget; Susan left it up to me to decide which patches to replace.
I began by creating patterns of the patches.

On a project like this you can easily do three times the work I did,
especially if you repair original embroidery, but the shredded threadbare patches were easy to choose first.  I chose more patches than I could do, and then set to replacing what I could in the time allotted. (and yes, I did a bit more than I was paid to replace.)

Part of the initial project was finding compatible cottons.
I took my color cues by looking at the bits of disintegrated fabrics.
Many were purple!

Of the ones I bought I used half, as some just didn’t feel right once I saw
them balanced on the quilt.  The bits of bright green silk, bright gold and yellow silk,
and bright purples gave the quilt some of its original punch.

I changed the layout slightly from this first pass — I found a bit of bright yellow silk
in my own stash and used it, and moved the green silks a bit.

Once I had the colors laid out, I went to work.

I didn’t want to cover the embroidery that originally graced the bright purple patch in this area, so chose to create a split patch.  Susan’s Grandmother used unusual bits of yarn — note the purple eyelash?  She must have been a knitter.

This kind of repair is so different than quilt making — the tiny thin angles that would usually be created by overlapping patches have to be made when possible by folding under.  Sometiems it is impossible, and I turned the tight corner under.

This was very thick green silk, bits from the Washington State DAR Flag.
I did the central embroidery on the plain silks on a hoop before I placed them on the quilt.
Patches were stitches. then embroidered.


The central motif was once a long strip of purple.

I chose a purple border because after inspecting the original bits of lost fabric, her Grandmother was fond of purple… Many patches were shades of purple.

Unfortunately, and even giving her time, I was not able to come in and
repair embroidery that was damaged.  In some ways this is okay with me —
the family can easily tell which is Grandma’s embroidery,
and which is mine, which is on the newer fabrics only.

The final images of the crazy quilt!

©MPF Conservation.  May be printed for your own use.
May be reposted if our url + copyright is used as reference.

Posted in antiques, conservation techniques, decorative motifs, history, Interim Report, preservation, process, reparation, reproduction, restoration techniques, textiles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments