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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

Stretching Canvas & Restretching Artwork

by Cheryle Harrison
Pacific Conservators

Stretching Canvas
The preparation for a painting is as important as its final image. The quality of materials and their use will influence an artwork’s characteristics and durability. Whether creating or living with art, it is advantageous to be familiar with what affects an artwork’s appearance and structure.

Here is a general outline for stretching canvas onto a stretcher.

You will need a custom-built or commercial ready-made stretcher, canvas pliers, a staple gun and non-corrosive staples. Stretcher bars that angle inward and away from the stretched canvas will inhibit the development of bar imprints into the painted canvas. Include cross bars to stabilize large stretchers. Square up the stretcher by using a right angle along its sides. Measure across the diagonal corners for equal measurements.

Select canvas or linen fabric. The weight of your fabric should correspond with the painting technique. Thick applications of paint require a heavier fabric. Cut a fabric piece allowing ample margin to stretch and extend over the edges to the back of the stretcher. On a flat surface, position the assembled stretcher on the fabric. Align the fabric’s weave parallel to the edges of the stretcher, keep threads straight during stretching.

The canvas can be temporarily tacked at each corner. Begin stretching and attaching the fabric at the mid-point of each stretcher side. Rotate and evenly stretch the fabric, attaching it to the stretcher at close intervals. Staple along the narrow sides or along the verso side of the stretcher. Continue until approximately two inches from each corner. Fold and tuck unattached corners and staple to back of stretcher. Insert the wedges or keys. Do not over-stretch the canvas. It will tighten up with sizing and gesso.

Restretching Artwork
An artwork may require re-stretching if distortion or ripples in the support occur. Alternatively, an artwork might be removed from its stretcher for transport or storage. Generally, if the painting is flexible and not brittle, a re-stretching may be done with out difficulty.

The major concern with re-stretching is creating cracks or actual loss of paint. Over-stretching can cause radiating cracking along the outer edges of the artwork, and distortion. Rips and tears can also occur. Improper stretching can weaken the painting or affect the appearance of the artwork. Usually, distortion requires conservation treatment prior to re-stretching. If the painting has a rigid paint layer, an aged support, or flaking paint, consult a conservator.

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

Last issue: Mounting Textiles
Next issue: An onsite conservation project

 Fri, Feb 1, 2008