Home Contact | Advertising Subscribe
Search Listings
Alberta British Columbia Oregon Washington
Exhibition Previews
Gallery Websites
Conservation Corner

To find gallery listings use search at page top right.


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

One World One Hope:
The treatment of a monumental wall hanging designed by Joe Average

by Rebecca Pavitt
Pacific Conservators

In 1996, Vancouver hosted the International Aids Conference. The central visual icon of that historic event was a 29 x 32 foot hanging designed by Joe Average.

Just prior to installation, the hanging was sprayed with bromide salt fire retardant which, when dry, crystallized on the surface, obscuring the image. This was largely removed by flushing the quilt with water – work was done on blue tarps in a specially rented parking lot in Vancouver. One can only imagine the anxiety surrounding this last minute scramble to have the quilt presentable and installed on schedule. But the finished result was worth all of the work. Joe Average was visibly moved when he recalled seeing the quilt spotlighted in the darkened hall at opening ceremonies.

Volunteer with vacuum

In 2006, Canada once again hosted the International Aids Conference, this time in Toronto. The quilt was to be a featured display at the event but, when it was removed from storage, dusty grey-white stains were found to cover much of the fabric. The quilt must be cleaned and readied for display.

Chemical tests showed that though the grey-white material contained some bromide salt, it was mainly miscellaneous dust and dirt that likely attached itself to the still damp quilt during its wash in the parking lot and its installation and de-installation at GM Place. After some experimentation it was found that the material was best removed by vacuuming, and then brushing residual stains with a semi-stiff brush and vacuuming again. A small Eureka vacuum cleaner, with a secondary “HEPA” like filter was purchased for the job, as was a special soft bristle cleaning head. Soft tooth and dusting brushes were also essential tools for this job.

Brushing resistant accretions

Size made it impossible to unfold the quilt entirely. Instead, it was worked on in sections, on the floor of the basement recreation room of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Vancouver. Because it was necessary to step on the quilt to reach all parts of it, shoes were removed and a large stock-pile of clean socks kept on hand

After cleaning, an underlay of unsized sheeting was made, to help with storing and handling the quilt. Buckled polypropylene straps to hold the quilt when folded and rolled were also made, as was a Tyvek and Velcro outer wrap to protect the piece when traveling and in storage. The quilt was proudly displayed in Toronto in all its newly cleaned glory.

Wall hanging at the International Aids Conference, 1996

Many thanks to the Dr. Peter Foundation for funding the treatment, and for care-taking this unique icon of AIDS awareness.

Previously: Changing Images
Next Issue: Structural Repair of an Early Emily Carr

 Fri, Apr 6, 2007