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CURRENT COLUMN

Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)

Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)

Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum
Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)
Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)


Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 2)


Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 1)

After treatment
Oscar Cahén: Innovative Conservation
for an Innovative Artist

Structural
Rigid Water Gels: New Treatment Options for Paper Conservators

Structural
Structural Remedies for Canvas Paintings

Digital
Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 4: Digital-based Material

Photos
Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 3: Photo-based Material

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 2: Paper-based Material

First Steps
Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 1: The First Steps

Natural Dyes
The Use of Natural Dyes in Textile Conservation

Butterfly
A Relocation Project

Challenges of Preserving Contemporary Artwork

Preserve Your Investment through Art Conservation

A Project Completed: Heritage Preserved

Old and New Methods for Cleaning Paintings

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I? Part 2

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I?

The E.J. Hughes Mural: An Expanded Project

Is She or Is She Not an Emily

Treating Art with Sensitive Media

Malaspina Mural: An Update

For the Artist: Testing Your Materials

Conservator as Art Historian

Alum Sizing and the Art of W.J. Phillips

Treatment of an Elizabeth Keith Wood Block Print

Structural Treatment of an Emily Carr

The Treatment of a Monumental Wall Hanging

Changing Images

Preserving a Rare Record

Gold Leaf: Imitation and Genuine

The Case Against Canvas Backings

Heritage Colours: Research Discovers Original Colours

Lighting Your Art: Balancing Seeing and Protecting

The Double-Sided Emily Carr Painting

Choosing a Period Picture Frame

How to Identify a Picture Frame

Stretching Canvas and Restretching Artwork

Mounting Textiles

Aging Paintings:
Some Causes and Effects

Chine Collé Prints

What's Your Favourite Color?

Backing Removals

Rips, Holes and Tears

Filling in the Gaps

DIY – Preventative Care of Paintings

Frame it Right

Fire, Water and Smoke-Damaged Paintings

Inherent Vice

Saturated Problems:
A Water-Damaged Painting

Moldy Paper

Conserving Time

Conserving Paper: Dos and Don'ts

Repair of Textiles

Conserving Wood

Rescuing Endangered Murals

Repairing Acid-Matte Burn

Art Services & Materials
Exhibition Openings & Events

  Conservation Corner Back


MoldyPaper

by Rebecca Pavitt
Conservator, Pacific Conservators
Vancouver, BC

Moldy Paper - Before
Mold-damaged paper showing characteristic foxing and staining

Mold makes its appearance on paper in a myriad of colourful forms. What they all have in common is a need for moisture. Mold spores are omnipresent. This can be in the form of of water vapour (found in humid environments like basements, bathrooms and Jakarta-like climates) or liquid water (as from floods, condensation and poorly trained pets). One of the most common forms of mold is "foxing," the small spots of brown discolouration often seen on artworks and documents which have had long-term exposure to moderately damp environments. Fuzzy molds often sprout between layers of damp papers and mat boards. The nastiest growths from my own point of view, are the coloured and black molds whose hyphae can penetrate deep into the paper support and cause irreversible staining. Mold can be prevented by keeping paper dry (below 65% Relative Humidity), but what should be done when a wet disaster strikes? First and most importantly, dry the artwork. Mold can grow within 72 hours, so it is important to act quickly. The response may be as simple as unframing an artwork and allowing it to air dry. Wet or damp media and paper are very fragile, so careful handling is essential. In the case of a major disaster, effective drying may require the combined resources of restoration companies and art conservators. When in doubt, call an art conservator. If mold has started to grow, drying will inactivate it, giving you time to consider treatment options. Fuzzy molds can usually be removed by surface cleaning, but mold stains can only be removed or reduced through chemical treatment. The effectiveness of stain removal will depend on the media, the paper and the extent of damage. Molds can trigger serious health problems. People who are at risk, or who have already developed sensitivities should avoid exposure. For more information about mold, visit Conservation OnLine at aic.stanford.edu

Moldy Paper - After

Detail of paper after drying, stabilization and treatment.

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Next issue: Saturated Problems: A Water-Damaged Painting Mold-damaged paper showing characteristic foxing and staining.

Previous issue: Restoration of a Grandfather Clock

 Fri, Feb 1, 2008