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parchment questions

I have two questions on parchment that I hope the conservators on this list
can help me with for calligraphers on another list I'm on.

First, should vellum be stretched onto a frame (permanently, and this
involves wetting), especially for larger pieces of calligraphy with
illumination?  One person is doing a large piece that is 24 in. by 30 in. and
insists she must stretch the vellum on a frame so that is doesn't cockle.
She is afraid that if it cockles, the parts with gold illumination would
touch the glass and the gold would come off.

On the other side of the framing discussion are those who say that the
parchment should be mounted with as few attachments as possible so that it
can be free to expand and contract.  I think they mean using hinges at the
top corners.  I've hinged artwork using small pieces of Japanese paper and
wheat paste, but I'm wondering what adhesive you would use on something as
hydroscopically sensitive as parchment.  Or is there another/better way of
loosely mounting parchment?

So the questions are: Which is better for parchment, permanent stretching or
loose mounting.  If one does the loose mounting, what is the best way?

A safety question has also arisen.  Does anyone know if gum sandarac is
poisonous?  I know you don't want to get it on your hands and then eat
something, but is it particularly toxic so that one would need to take extra
precautions?  I've never heard anything about it being poisonous myself.

Thanks for the help.



Pamela Rups
Computer Multimedia Specialist
Instructional Technology Services
Western Michigan University

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