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Seeing in Different Ways: A Liz Magor Backpack Project
Seeing in Different Ways:
A Liz Magor Backpack Project

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

Rigid Water Gels: New Treatment Options for Paper Conservators

Structural Remedies for Canvas Paintings

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

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

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

Mounting Textiles

by Rebecca Pavitt
Pacific Conservators

Often regarded as utilitarian or decorative objects, textiles can receive some pretty rough handling over the course of their lifetime. Even those that have been handled and stored with great care can, through the simple fact of aging, become extremely fragile. How then can they be safely preserved and displayed?

Indonesian textile, before treatment and mounting

Sculpted sink mount backboard

Textile mounted on fabric-covered sink mount

One method that has been developed by textile conservators over the past twenty-odd years is “press mounting.” In a press mount, the textile is sandwiched between a padded backboard and an acrylic sheet (e.g.Plexiglas). Light pressure between the backboard and glazing holds the textile in place. Because acrylic sheeting’s molecular structure and chemical properties are entirely different from glass it can lay directly against the textile without the danger of mold growth or moisture condensation.

Press mounts are not suited to all textiles. Usually they are restricted to pieces that are reasonably flat, and are too fragile to be sewn. Many regimental flags and banners are good candidates for press mounting. Three-dimensional textiles have also been successfully press mounted, but these require a more sculpted back mount to accommodate their depth. In this article I describe the treatment of a very fragile textile decorated with sequins and beads.

This Indonesian wall hanging is made from silk ground fabrics backed with a cotton lining. It is embroidered with silk and metallic threads, and embellished with beads, sequins, metallic lace edging and a beaded fringe. It was originally supported by a wooden rod at the top edge, and hung with a cord, but is far too fragile to be displayed this way anymore.

Because the textile has many three-dimensional elements, I built a padded sink mount with cut-out depressions to accommodate the larger beads on the bottom fringe, and the hanging sleeve on the reverse of the top edge. Channels were cut to hold the free ends of the hanging cord. The polyester padding is edged by two and three layers of matboard, cut to the shape of the textile’s perimeter. This raised surround helps hold the textile in place and prevents the Plexiglas glazing from crushing the fabric and decorative elements. Once in its frame, a wooden strainer with crossbar will be screwed into the back of the frame, providing even support and light pressure to hold the Plexiglas and mounted textile securely together.

Modern press mounts in North America were originally developed for temporary display but in several cases “temporary” has become an elastic term. The press mount solves many handling and storage problems for very fragile textiles. So far no major problems have been reported from prolonged storage in a press mount, although the design is continually evolving. In my own collection I have two embroidered textiles which have been press mounted for sixteen years. I recently opened the framing package to check on them and found that the textiles and acrylic glazing were in excellent condition.

For more information visit the FACTS (Fine Art Care and Treatment Standards) website at www.artfacts.org.

Last issue: Aging Paintings: Some Causes and Effects
Next issue: Stretching and Restretching Canvas

 Fri, Feb 1, 2008