Artist book of prints by four artists
Fully bound in green parchment
BINDING The heavy parchment cover was damaged in several places, including a piece missing from the back-board and a frayed split down the spine. The cover was pasted onto the boards, and also either lined or placed on lined boards. The boards were warped and had heavy corner damage. Other than this they were fairly solid and reusable.
TEXTBLOCK was packed sewn, though it was mostly broken. There was heavy paper damage with tears along the spine, the edges of the book and two loose leaves. The edges were brittle throughout the book . It was extremely dirty throughout.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION There were two heavily damaged and unusable green ties.
Mechanically cleaned throughout with a chemical sponge.
Pulled apart the sewing, keeping the back board and final section attached together as it was part of the last section.
Carried out paper repairs to the textblock and section folds using various appropriate Japanese tissue.
Consolidated corners of the boards,including recreating one using layered grey board. They were left uncovered.
Pressed the boards to flatten where possible, without humidification.
Attached new cords to the old cords by sewing and pasting them together.
Resewed the sections with packed sewing, using the back board as the primary section to sew from, as final section was still attached.
Cords were laced into the boards using the original method.
Spine backed with PaperNao K37.
Rebacked with parchment, toned with Selaset Dyes.
Created and attached a net pouch to preserve the green ties.
BINDING had structural stress due to large amounts of inserted material. The front board was damaged and detached from spine and sewing supports. The remaining spine was split from the front board and worn at head and tail. The first section was loose.
TEXTBLOCK paper had some tears and edge damage on first pages. Four pages had been torn out leaving stubbs remaining. The pastedown was detached along with the board, leaving an outside hook at the back of first section.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Large amounts of inserted newspaper cuttings were protruding from the textblock causing discolouration and edge damage.
Cleaned throughout with chemical sponge and loose material was removed and documented.
Spine was lifted allowing reattachment of the loose first section by sewing to the spine.
The texblock and inserted material were humidified where necessary and repaired using toned tissue.
Areas of loss were infilled with a sympathetic western paper and supported with a Japanese tissue.
An article was removed and re-adhered using a hinge, as to remain in its original state would have meant later damage to the article and book.
Loose endpapers were given an outside hook and attached by pulling through the sewing supports and adhering to the spine.
Spine lined with Usumino tissue.
Front board was attached with Usumino tissue and lined up against the foredge to provide protection to the textblock.
Exposed spine area was covered in tissue toned with acrylic paints.
Hinge repair to inside of boards to support attachments.
Four-flap folder created to support loose inserted material
Bespoke clam shell box made to house both book and four-flap folder together, supporting the protruding material within the book by using different levels of plastizote.
Well I definitely passed a marker today, as I have finished the paper repairs for the toys scrapbook – Mrs E. Nevill Jackson’t Scrapbook from the Museum of Childhood. They have taken a long time as many of them protruded from the edges of the book, meaning they have been crushed over the years.
Some pictures of the book and its inserts before I completed the work.
In order to repair these pages, many of them had to be locally humidified first, as they were folded in on themselves, and opening up the folds without the introduction of moisture, would have broken them. I separated the local humidification from the rest of the book using melinex and effectively sectioned off a page at a time. Once humidified, they each had to be dried between blotters before I could repair them. The repairs were then done using japanese tissue (usumino) for the support and a toned thicker tissue for any infills, as can be seen in my last post.
The repaired pages…
So obviously now the inserts are much bigger than the book, as they would have been originally. In order to prevent them being crushed again, I am going to have create some sort of chemise cover to extend the boards and protect the inserts – so watch this space!!!
Some time back in a post earlier in the year, I mentioned that I would potentially be working on a scrapbook from the Museum of Childhood. Well I was lucky enough to be allowed that project to work on as part of my MA final project, along with a recipe scrapbook that I am working on at college.
So I thought I would write an update of the work I have been doing on this second scrapbook, whilst at the V&A. This past week, I have been working on substantial paper repairs for the material that is sticking out of the scrapbook. These are items that, due to their oversize, have been bashed and damaged – so I am repairing them.
It’s quite short and picture heavy, this one, but I will try and post some more soon!
Methyl Cellulose is on a par with wheat starch paste in its usefulness to conservators. It is most commonly used as an adhesive, which is both reversible and water soluble, though not as ‘wet’ as wheat starch paste. It can also be used in a poultice form for removing spine pieces, and is regularly used for consolidating paper edges, where they may have lost strength over time. In each case, the material and media must be tested before MC is used.
This particular recipe is used at the V&A to make MC that can be kept for a month or so, out of the fridge.
Methyl Cellulose 5%
5g Methyl Cellulose
100ml water – 75ml hot and 25ml cold
– put the MC powder into a jar which has a lid.
– pour the hot water on top and stir.
– pour the cold water on top of this and stir again until powder is gone.
– leave for about 1 hour to cool.
– put lid on and leave until clear, about 24 hours.
As promised in my last post, this is a little more detail on my placement at the National Library of Scotland. I was hugely grateful to be accepted on this placement, as two weeks is never very long to get into a project and placements always require people to take out time to show you around the building and instruct you in various matters, so I am extremely grateful for the whole conservation team at the library for taking time out of their days to help and advise me.
Initially I was taken around the building itself and shown how the library works on a daily basis, as I mentioned before, it is a massive building – a bit like a tardis and much bigger on the inside than can be seen on the outside. The studio itself was on the 4th floor, with three additional disaster rooms throughout the library for use in emergencies. The Library’s disaster plan was far more organized than any other I have come across, even down to having work clothes and boots sized correctly for the disaster team members – I was quickly informed that the Library has suffered not one but three major floods, so their disaster plan is not only well planned, but has been accurately carried out as well, which is a great success.
The studio was a great space and sensibly laid out with desks for each conservator as well as larger communal work areas and a sectioned area for tooling and finishing and for board cutting.
I also spent a day at the second site for the library which is located at Site Hill on the outskirts of Edinburgh, where half the conservation team are based and carry out work using some of the more heavyweight and visibly dangerous looking equipment!! Like many of the bigger institutions, the NLS found that some years back they were spending huge amounts of funding on storage boxes, and decided to invest in a box cutter, becoming the first institution to have an onsite box cutter – this has made a massive difference to their work load and reduced the amount of work hours per box, therefore increasing the number of boxes it is possible to make per year – so much so that they now make boxes for some of the local institutions that don’t have the same equipment, similarly to the Metropolitan Archives, therefore making the whole process much more economically efficient.
Whilst in the studio I was given the opportunity to work on two projects, the first was the conservation of some maps from the St Bartholomew’s collection and the second was a box for a sculpture.
The Bartholomew collection is a donation to the library of the archives of an early 19th Century Map cartography company who produced and printed maps. The collection itself includes records held in bound volumes many maps. It was some of these maps that I was working on alongside the Bartholomew conservator.
The second project was the sculpture and was one of a series of anonymous sculptures left at various book associated institutions around Scotland. They are fascinating sculptures and often associated with the Scottish author Ian Rankin. They essentially adapt a book into some of the most intricate paper sculptures – really fascinating work in amazing detail. My job was to make this very fragile sculpture a box in which it could be safely stored. And I am quietly confident that none of the other sculptures will have such a lovingly and bespoke made box! – I will go into more detail on instructions in another post. It was made with board, plastizote and buckram book cloth.
In addition to the maps and this box, which did take me a while, I was also lucky enough to have a go at tooling and finishing. Unfortunately this is not something we cover at Camberwell, which I hope is something that will change in the future as I (and the NLS) feel that it is a necessary skill to cover. Having not done any before, I was understandably not let loose on an actual book, but I did have some instructions from three skilled finishers, who set me on the straight and narrow path to start and practice. As many will know, these skills have to be practiced to great extents as it is not something that can be perfected overnight. I will also go into more detail on this in a later post.
So all in all, a fabulous two weeks that I was thrilled to be able to do. A very big thank you to the National Library of Scotland and the conservation team there.