WAACNewsletter
Volume 13, Number 3, Sept 1991, p.20

Conference Reviews

Mary Hough, column editor

Two conferences are reviewed in this column:

  1. "Enzymes Workshop, Huntington Museum, June 12, 1991," review by Paula Volent.
  2. "Modern Artists' Materials and Their Conservation Implications, CAL, June 26-28, 1991," review by Joseph Hammer.

Enzymes Workshop

Huntington Museum, June 12, 1991

During her summer break from her teaching position at the Buffalo State College program in Art Conservation, Cathleen Baker has been traveling to conservation facilities along the West Coast and sharing valuable original research and practical information concerning the use of enzymes in paper and book conservation. In a small workshop at the Huntington Library and Museum on June 12, Cathy reviewed basic terminology and commercial sources as well as actual chemical mechanisms involved in the use of enzymes.

Topics discussed included consideration of pH, denaturing, purity and activity. Treatment strategies outlined included careful preliminary examination and testing of the artifact to determine specific vulnerabilities of sizing, media, and substrate as well as immersion and poulticing techniques. Due to possible deleterious effects of small amounts of cellulase in fungal and bacterial source enzymes, Cathy recommends the use of "pure" enzymes or those from mammalian sources for work in paper conservation whenever possible. The effect of enzyme treatments on old discolored sizing materials was considered. Participants of the workshop experimented with a variety of techniques of enzyme use.

review by:
Paula Volent
Paper Conservator, Los Angeles

Modern Artists' Materials and Their Conservation Implications Debuts At C.A.L.

June 26-28, 1991

The problems and solutions in contemporary painting were the subject of a new course "Modern Artists' Materials and their Conservation Implications" presented by the Smithsonian Institution Conservation Analytical Laboratory at the Museum Support Center in Suitland, MD, June 26-28, 1991.

Course organizers Jai-sun Tsang and Martine Barras, painting conservators at CAL, brought together artists, art educators, paint manufacturers, research chemists, and paintings conservators to share their research and practical experiences. The topics discussed were the chemical composition, historical progression and modern production technologies in the manufacture of materials, and techniques used in the creation and conservation of modern paintings.

The three days consisted of lectures and a hands-on workshop with color and gloss measurements, alkyd and acrylic paint and various gel media. The small informal group encouraged dialogue. The organizers would be interested in hearing from anyone who has suggestions or would like to attend any future course offering.

review by:
Joseph Hammer, paintings conservator
Conservation of Paintings, Ltd., Santa Monica, CA

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