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Re: Icky Sticky Gooey Yucky Poster Restoration



> Hi Sam & Ron --

I've been doing some work at a paper conservation lab here in Australia, and one of the first things I
learned there was the not-so-minor difference between conservation and restoration. It's a little spin on "if
it ain't broke" -- more like "only fix what's broke and don't mess with anything else..." Apologies if you've
thought this through already, but it was a revelation to me! :-)

For example, scotch and cello tape adhesive often stains paper,which is what seems to be the case with Sam's
playbill. The conservators I work with often remove tape and old adhesive but do not try to alter tape
stains, as that could weaken the paper,  thus  countering the ethos of "conserving" it...  Recently I did
some repairs on badly ripped and age-faded Aboriginal drawings, and in doing so, tried only to mend damage
where it was likely to further deteriorate. Patched holes, reinforced bent corners, that sort of thing. I
used japanese papers dyed to match the drawings' paper in both its "original" color and its faded spots,
which seems to contradict the idea of restoring -- and it does. The idea is to prevent the drawings from
getting worse, sort of suspending them indefinitely in the state they are currently in, and preserving their
value. Sometimes restoration is harder on paper than the damage was, and can reduce an item's value rather
than enhance it.

In these conservators' line of thinking, those tape stains on Sam's playbill are part of the history of the
document, and even if it could be restored, the bill won't ever be mint again. Why not let it show its age?
;-) As is, it may not be as aesthetic as you would like, but it might be more historic and authentic...

Now, to your question. :-) One thing that a conservator friend does occasionally to spiff up the appearance
of paper she works on is to use ground-up Sennelier pastels (the chalks, not the oils) to "tint" the paper.
It isn't conservation, exactly, because it won't do much to halt damage, but it does make them look a little
better, and it's not generally considered harmful to some works. Sennelier makes just about every color you
can think of, too, and if you've thought of one they haven't you could probably mix it from their range. In
any case,  I've forwarded Ron's tale of tape woe to that conservator friend, so I'll post again with any
further info.

Barb Coddington



> Subject: Re: Icky Sticky Gooey Yucky Poster Restoration
> Date: Sun, 24 May 1998 18:39:29 -0400
> From: Sam Lanham <slanham@xxxxxxxx>
>
> Friends--
>
> I have a document which was tapedon the back with ordinary Scotch tape for
> years before I got it.  The old tape came off easily but the adhesive has
> penetrated the paper and shows through on the front side.  I have soaked
> the document in acetone with no visible effect.  Is there any way I can
> remove the adhesive from the paper?
>
> The document is a unique early Texas playbill and I would really like to
> restore it if possible.
>
> Any help appreciated mucho.
>
> Sam Lanham
> Sam Lanham (slanham@xxxxxxxx)


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