Often artwork may have grime and dirt on the surface. This can be cleaned dry. Washing the art in water can also be beneficial. This will not only remove dirt and reduce stains but also wash out harmful acid that has built up in the paper. Washing can also relax brittle or distorted paper and help in flattening. All paper should be tested beforehand for water sensitivity.
REPAIRS OF TEARS OR LOSSES
Tears are carefully repaired, usually on the reverse, using strips of torn Japanese tissue and starch paste. Areas with paper loss can be filled individually with Japanese paper, or with a paper carefully chosen to match the original in weight, texture, and colour.
These are the brown spots often found on the paper. These stains are caused by a bacteria or mould which grows on acidic paper, or when there are tiny metallic particles in the paper as a result from the papermaking process.
We can give advice on acid-free mounting and conservation framing for the long-term care of your works of art.
Sometimes works can be very brittle or become fragile with age. These can be reinforced by backing them with a light Japanese paper using a starch-based paste.
REMOVAL OF BACKING
Sometimes an object is backed with a carboard backing. It may have been glued on and is not part of its original structure and it can be inadequate or acidic and become brittle. This could be damaging to the art and so will need to be carefully removed.
Yellow or brown stains on paper, especially in regular patches, can be due to the glue or adhesive tapes used to fix the picture into a mount. Self-adhesive tapes are particularly damaging because the adhesive creeps into the paper and is then extremely difficult to remove.
Removing harmful acidity which accumulates in paper. When there is acid in the paper it will go very discoloured and sometimes brittle.
Typically, damage to the works on paper occurs due to:
1. Changes in humidity and temperature– storing works on paper in basements, attics, or hanging them on the outside walls
2. Faulty framing: mat boards containing acid and lignin, use of adhesives, lack of spacers in between artwork and glass
3. Exposure to the light: sunlight or fluorescent light or any other intense light source
Examine your artworks and call us if you notice:
– Reddish-brown spots also known as “foxing”, caused by mould (fungi).
– “mat-burn”, a darkening of the paper under the mat or at the bevel cut of the window mat, caused by bad quality or very old mat boards.