OVERLAY WITH A DIFFERENCE: STRONG SUPPORT-THREAD EDGE FINISH FOR TETEX TR
Tetex TR is very difficult to handle, yet its other physical properties make it widely advantageous for use in many conservation disciplines. Any simple working technique with good results that may not be possible by stitching alone is useful because, for conservators working on a wide variety of objects, more options become available for conservation treatments. Introducing an element of control while working with Tetex TR, such as taping the edges down taut, means the fabric is less demanding in terms of handling and the work is less time consuming.
As demonstrated, possibilities are limitless for accommodating three-dimensional elements and complex-shaped design motifs in a Tetex TR overlay, including shaping overlays to match differences in color or pattern of ground fabrics (fig. 11). Conversely, complex shapes corresponding to motifs can be cut for use as overlays of individual elements by melding away the negative areas of the Tetex TR. A polyester thread, stitched and fused in place, will strengthen its cut and melted edges.
This technique is useful in circumstances where the only option for stitching the overlay in place is to tack the finished edges to a few strong design elements. The edges must be able to withstand reasonable manipulation and must hold stitches without failing. Another scenario where this technique may be advantageous is when the cut Tetex TR edge cannot be hidden under another textile element, so is left exposed, and cannot be secured in place farther from the edge. In this case, stitching the reinforced edges is possible without risking damage to the edge finish, and the stitches used are shorter and less visible. It is hoped that the provision of detailed instructions for this practical technique will overcome the difficulties of working with Tetex TR and so give wider appeal for its use to conservators in other disciplines.
After-treatment detail of battle honor shown in figure 4, with overlay loosely stitched in place
The author is fortunate to work with two knowledgeable, experienced Textile Laboratory colleagues, Jan Vuori and Janet Wagner, and wishes to thank them for generously providing encouragement and support. Thanks also to CCI photographer Carl Bigras for photographing the melding process.