WAACNewsletter
Volume 11, Number 1, Jan. 1989, pp.16-17

Conferences in Review

Chris Stavroudis, column editor

Six conferences were reviewed in this column:

  1. "The Guild of Bookworkers' Standards of Excellence Seminar, Chicago, October 28-30, 1988," review by Joanne Page.
  2. "The Southern California Registrar's Committee--Western Region, November 1, 1988," review by Rosa Lowinger.
  3. "The Harpers Ferry Regional Textile Group 9th biennial Symposium, November 3 and 4," review by Sharon K. Shore.
  4. "Dye Workshop at the Conservation Analytical Laboratory, Smithsonian Institution, November 7-10, 1988," review by Rosanna Zubiate.
  5. "Symposium on Collections-Specific Surveys, Rocky Mountain Regional Conservation Center," review by David Schute.
  6. "Symposium/Workshop in Conservation Science, Getty Conservation Institute, December 4-6, 1988," review by Chris Stavroudis.

The Guild of Bookworkers' Standards of Excellence Seminar was held in Chicago on October 28-30, 1988, hosted by the Newberry Library. The presentations included a lecture by Kay Amert entitled "The Use of Letterforms in Bookbinding Design"; and demonstrations by Cathy Atwood on Japanese side-sewn bindings, by Silvia Rennie of her French on-lay techniques, and by Pamela Spitzmueller of historical sewing techniques. There was also a talk and exhibition featuring the work of Chicago area book artists. Among the WAAC members attending were Joanne Page and Jack Thompson.

Joanne Page, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

On November 1, 1988 the Southern California Registrar's Committee--Western Region held their annual meeting at the San Diego Museum of Art. The subject of the all day symposium was condition reporting. The meeting focused on identification and recording techniques used to assess the condition of works of art primarily in traveling exhibitions. Three conservators addressed the group on the basics of condition reporting during the morning session. The conservators, James Greaves (paintings), Janet Ruggles (paper), and Rosa Lowinger (objects), spoke on their respective areas of specialty. Particular emphasis was given to the precise use of terminology in reporting. During the afternoon, three other panelists discussed condition reporting for traveling exhibitions and transporting works of art. The panelists were: Lella Smith, Chief Registrar for the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, formerly of the Armand Hammer Foundation, who spoke on the forms developed for traveling exhibitions at the Hammer Foundation; Barbara Baggett, Vango Art Coordinator for Atlantic Van Lines, who spoke about her company's procedures and recommendations; and Paul Drake of Cooke's Crating who answered questions following a videotape on condition reporting as done by Cooke's Crating.

The session was well received by the participants. There were many questions about specific problems (such as bronze disease, cupping/tenting of paint, etc.) and general interest in future sessions. For further information please contact one of the conservator participants or Kathy Clewell, the organizer, at: Palm Springs Desert Museum, P.O. Box 2288, Palm Springs, CA 92263.

Rosa Lowinger, The Sculpture Conservation Studio

The Harpers Ferry Regional Textile Group sponsored its 9th biennial Symposium on November 3rd and 4th at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History. Entitled "20th Century Materials, Testing and Textile Conservation", a total of seventeen speakers gave presentations on aspects of the historical development; growing presence in museum collections; special considerations required for storage and handling; use as part of treatment; and evolving testing and conservation techniques of such materials as rubber, polyesters, acetates, nonwoven products, and beads and sequins made of synthetics. As always this very specialized and well organized conference was well attended, 81 people from across the United States, Canada, and England. Public and private textile conservation laboratories, curatorial departments, corporate research departments and costume design institutions were represented. Sheila Landi, Chief Conservation Officer in Textiles at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, presented a very thought provoking and controversial review of her 20 years of experience using polyester materials for sewing and supporting historical textiles in the Museum's collection. Also in attendance from the U.K. was Nina Cole, Textile Conservator on leave from Hampton Court Palace Studios and recently a volunteer intern in the LACMA Textile Conservation Laboratory. Other familiar WAAC members in attendance included Stan Derelian, Faye W. Walcher, JoAnn Hill, and Sharon K. Shore.

A very informative history of the development of patent leather, followed by two case histories of treatment was presented by Rosanna Zubiate, Assistant Textile Conservator at LACMA. After describing the treatment steps for conservation of a pair of patent leather ladies shoes from 1988, she managed to inject a humorous note at the afternoon session of the second day by admitting that the shoes were her own. Incidentally, the treatment results were quite successful. All speakers' presentations for this and other Harpers Ferry Symposia are recorded on audio cassettes for distribution. Further information concerning their availability can be requested from Cassette Recording Company, Inc., P.O. Box 20453, Dayton, Ohio, 45420.

Sharon K. Shore, Caring for Textiles, 12617 Venice Blvd.,
Los Angeles, CA 90066

A four day Dye Workshop was held at the Conservation Analytical Laboratory at the Smithsonian Museum Support Center from November 7 to 10, 1988. It was timed to follow immediately after the Harpers Ferry meeting in Washington, D.C. The workshop was attended by seven textile conservators from around the country including WAAC members Margaret Geiss-Mooney, Faye Walcher, and Rosanna Zubiate. The course offered very introductory presentations and practical demonstrations in dyeing cotton, wool, silk, and polyester with synthetic dyes. The synthetic dyes included fiber reactive, pre-metallized, and monochlorotriazinyl reactive dyes. These are very broad classes of dyes and only a limited number of types within each class were explored.

Rosanna Zubiate, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

In mid-November, the Rocky Mountain Regional Conservation Center hosted a three day symposium on collections-specific surveys for all twelve members of the Association of Regional Conservation Centers. The twenty-six participants, composed of conservators and conservation administrators, reviewed systems now employed for such surveys by regional centers. The primary issues discussed at the symposium were the information content that should be included on survey forms and reasonable expectations that should result from such a survey, from the perspective of both clients and conservators. The goal of these discussions is to help make the results of collections-specific surveys more interpretable, and therefore more useful, to other conservators and/or conservation facilities that may subsequently be asked to work with the artifacts. Participants will continue to deliberate on these issues by mail during the next several months. Partial funding for this effort was provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

David A. Shute, RMRCC

On December 4-6, 1988, the second Symposium/Workshop in Conservation Science was held at the Getty Conservation Institute. The meeting was co-sponsored by the GCI and the University of California system. The first Symposium/Workshop in June 1988 (see September Newsletter) functioned to bring together some of the problems that face conservators and the potential solutions that are available within the University of California system. The second Symposium/Workshop set about, in a preliminary fashion, to answer the question: Is there interest in collaborative research projects between the conservation and curatorial communities and scientists in the UC system?

Following opening statements by Stanley Margolis and Luis Monreal, papers were presented by: Frank Preusser, R. Ervin Taylor, Norman Herz, David Scott, Pieter Meyers, Jerry Podany, and David Farmer. The papers addressed the problems of conservation science research programmes with the intent of setting the tone for the subsequent discussions that took place within the working groups. The intent of the workshop was to develop a few refined, grant-ready research proposals. Because interest was high and it was universally agreed that there was a great need for such an organization, the California Consortium for Conservation Science (CCCS) was formed. The Steering Committee of the CCCS will pursue organizational goals and initiate a few pilot projects. The Steering Committee members are: Stanley V. Margolis; David J. Farmer; Jere H. Lipps; Pieter Meyers; Luis Monreal; Jerry Podany; Frank Preusser; Seymour Siegel; Chris Stavroudis; and R. Ervin Taylor. For further information contact Dr. Margolis or any of the Steering Committee members.

Chris Stavroudis

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