Selecting a Conservator | Old World Restorations

by Administrator29. December 2012 16:24

When damage occurs to art, antiques, photographs and historic documents you should seek the advice of an experienced conservator.

A professional conservator can diagnose problems, provide treatment options when necessary, prescribe a maintenance plan and recommend proper display and storage practices to prevent further damage.

Choosing the right conservator to best restore and preserve your treasures can sometimes be complicated and intimidating. Many private conservators provide restoration and conservation services to the general public, as well as to museums and institutions.

You should select a conservator in the same way that you would choose a doctor, lawyer or any other professional. Make sure that the conservator’s training, experience and facility are appropriate for your needs. Don’t hesitate to ask for and check references, see examples of completed projects that are similar to yours and to tour their facility.

Verify that the conservator has established appropriate handling and storage procedures, provides adequate security and the proper insurance to protect your items while in their care.

Ask the conservator if the results of their proposed treatment can be reversed without further damage to the item (which is important) and if they will provide you with written estimates and detailed documentation of all treatments performed. The selection of a conservator depends in part on the type of materials that require treatment.

The restoration and conservation of paintings, ceramics, wooden objects, textiles, metals and paper demands different knowledge, facilities and expertise.

Seek recommendations from museums and galleries in your community. Many museums use the services of conservators to care for items in their collections. Curators of such institutions are usually willing to provide the names and addresses of conservators who have performed conservation treatments.

Contact Old World Restorations, Inc.  Cincinnati,Ohio for your Art Conservation and Restoration needs.  (513) 271-5459



How to Hang Art Properly | Old World Restorations

by Administrator29. December 2012 16:20

Hanging art is much easier than you might think. All it takes is a little creativity, planning, accurate measurements and sufficient hardware. Consideration should be given to the size, weight and condition of framed art to best determine the safest and most secure method of hanging. If the art is damaged or deteriorated, or the frame is loose and flaking they should be stabilized and/or restored prior to hanging.

The type and placement of the hanging hardware is very important. Far too often, adequate hardware is improperly positioned on the frame or wall, causing the art to crash to the floor. Picture hanging hardware is available in most hardware stores and frame shops, or can be ordered on line. I do not recommend the use of threaded “screw eyes” to attach hanging wire. These small fasteners can loosen over time and pull out of the frame. Nor do I recommend using a single nail or screw to hold framed art on the wall. Look for hanging hardware that will support the size and weight of the art and can be fastened to both the frame and wall with more than one screw or nail. The best hangers to attach on the back of the frame are the “strap” type that provides more than one mounting hole and a heavy looped top to attach the hanging wire. These hangers can also be used without wire by hooking their top loops over an “L” shaped bolt that has been properly positioned in the stud of a wall. This procedure requires more accurate planning, measuring and positioning of the hardware to insure that the art is hung level and secure. Unfortunately, the wall studs are seldom located where they are needed for this type of hanging. Make certain that the wall hangers are secure and will not pull away from the wall. Attach wall hangers into the studs whenever possible. If not, use appropriate wall anchors or picture hooks designed for drywall. Hanging wire provides more flexibility and ease of hanging. Keep in mind, that picture hanging wire is available in different strengths. Select the proper wire to adequately support the art over time. Picture wire does deteriorate and weakened with age. Heavy works should also be supported at or under the bottom of the frame. “J” molding that is used to hang large mirrors can work well with large and heavy frames. One strip is attached to the reverse side of the frame, and the other to the wall. If installed properly, you simply lift the art to the wall and over the “J” channel to lock it in place.

Weather you are hanging one painting or print, or several, inspect the areas where you want to place art and give some thought to any conditions that may cause damage. For example, paintings look great when hung over a mantle. If the fireplace is used frequently, the dry heat that is generated can damage the painting. Art should not be hung directly over or below air ducts or in direct sunlight. Do not place works of art near windows or exterior doors that are opened regularly. Some art should not be hung in bathrooms or kitchens where environmental conditions can fluctuate. Some art can be affected by moisture when hung on an “outside” wall in a home or office, which is more susceptible to fluctuations in temperature and relative humidity than other interior walls. Thin insulation board can be attached to the back of art hung on “outside” walls for added protection. Extremely fragile and valuable art should not be hung in high traffic areas.

Artwork should usually be hung so that the center point of the picture or grouping is at about eye level for the average person. Also remember that a grouping of pictures should be thought of as one unit. Experiment with an arrangement of pictures by laying them out on a large table or on the floor. Try different combinations until you find the layout that works. Placing them on a large piece of paper will allow you to trace around each frame when you have completed the layout and use the paper as a template to attach to the wall and accurately mark the position of hangers. Measure the spaces between each piece to be sure that they are equal.

Hanging Tips…

•Choose Hardware and wire based on weight of framed art
•Hang picture or groups of art with the center at eye level (65”-70” off floor)
•Use two wall hangers (spaced at least 6” apart) when possible
•Position hanging hardware on back of frame (not art) no more than 1/3 down from the top
•Apply rubber or felt pads at bottom corners of the frame to protect walls

Contact Old World Restorations, Inc. Cincinnati, Ohio for your Art Restoration and Conservation needs. (513) 271-5459



Preserving and Restoring Old Photos | Old World Restorations

by Administrator29. December 2012 16:10

The life expectancy of a photograph is very much dependant upon the care and handling that it receives. Photographs can easily be damaged by improper handling, storage, display and framing. There are however, things that you can and should do to safeguard these important documents of your families past.

You can prevent most deterioration by keeping photographic materials in the proper environment. Never store photographs in an attic or basement where they are exposed to extreme temperatures and shifting humidity. Controlled relative humidity (RH) is probably the single most important factor in preserving photographs. Humidity levels above sixty percent can accelerate deterioration and damage to the sensitive surface of a photograph.

Photograph Restoration

Extended exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light can fade and severely damage photographs.

Avoid touching fragile photographic materials as much as possible. Wear clean cotton gloves when handling negatives and prints to prevent the transfer of fingerprints and stains to the surface of the photograph.

Store photographs in protective sleeves and enclosures that are acid-free. Suitable plastic enclosures are made of uncoated polyester film, uncoated cellulose triacetate, polyethylene, and polypropylene. Keep in mind, that photographic emulsions may adhere to a plastic surface at high relative humidity (RH) levels. The RH must remain below eighty percent if plastic enclosures are used for storage. Plastic enclosures should not be used for glass plate, nitrate, or acetate-based negatives. Paper enclosures should be acid-free and lignin free. All storage materials should pass the ANSI Photographic Activity Test (PAT) which is noted in most supplier catalogs. Avoid using cardboard, rubber bands, paper clips, tape, ink pen or markers, rubber cement, silicone adhesives, PVC plastics, or albums that are constructed of colored pages, and use "magnetic" or "no stick" pages. These materials discolor and deteriorate quickly over time.

Photographs of historic value should be matted with acid-free rag or museum board for long-term protection. Mounting adhesives should not come in contact with the photograph. Matting should be done by an experienced framer or under the direction of a trained conservator. Store all prints and negatives that are matted or placed in paper or plastic enclosures in acid-free storage boxes. Negatives should be kept separate from prints.
Consider making digital copies of valued photographs that are stored at another location in the event of a fire, flood or accident.

Restoring Damaged Family Photographs

When disaster strikes, and family keepsakes become torn, stained, burned, wet or faded, there are two very different methods used to restore damaged photographs.

An experienced paper conservator can usually surface clean, mend tears, replace missing areas and perform limited restorations to restore and preserve the original photograph. A damage photograph can also be scanned or digitally reproduced to include invisible restorations that are truly remarkable.

Preservation Tips…

•Handle photographs properly
•Do not expose to extreme temperatures and humidity
•Minimize exposure to Ultraviolet light
•Don’t leave fingerprints on photographs
•Store on protective acid-free sleeves
•Do not store in attic or basement
•Digitally copy important photographs



Cleaning Paintings | Old World Restorations

by Administrator29. December 2012 16:05

As paintings age, the appearance of the image changes with the accumulation of dirt and grime, and the alteration of the materials that were used to create them.

Traditional picture varnish made of natural resins like dammar and mastic has a tendency to yellow and discolor with age. Discolored varnish is not necessarily harmful to the painting, but it does disguise the image.

Cleaning Paintings

When a painting becomes dark and discolored, it should be cleaned and restored by an experienced art conservator rather than attempting to do-it-yourself. There are many home remedies that have been tried and published in magazines and trade journals to clean paintings. Some of our favorites are; “the raw potato”, rolled bread dipped in red wine, household spray cleaners, dish soap, linseed oil, furniture polish, fingernail polish remover (acetone), lighter fluid, and cooking oil. Unfortunately, these materials can cause irreversible damage to the surface and structure of a painting, and should not be used under any circumstances. Many simply coat the surface of the painting with a layer of slime that appears to temporarily wet or clear the image. This application eventually dries, discolors and further obscures the image. Other home remedies can permanently dissolve and wipe away portions of the paint. Covering a painting with layers of linseed or cooking oil will accelerate the deterioration of the canvas support.

Cleaning is one of the most challenging areas of painting conservation, and requires specialized skills, materials and experience. The painted surface can easily be damaged by untrained hands. Cleaning and varnish removal are procedures that require a thorough understanding of art, art history, chemistry, and materials science. One must have an understanding of the materials included in each layer of a painting’s structure and how they may be affected by the application of cleaning agents and solvents.

Damage from improper cleaning methods and materials may not be immediately apparent. For example, improper cleaning can weaken the bond between the paint, ground, and support layers resulting in paint loss over time. The use of water during cleaning may swell and shrink the canvas fibers, causing unnecessary tension on the paint and eventual cracking and flaking.

Paintings are typically cleaned in stages by an experienced art restorer or conservator. Preliminary tests are carried out to determine the effectiveness of cleaning agents and the solubility of the varnish and paint layers. Many different materials and/or combinations of materials may be needed to safely clean a painting. A material or solvent that is used to remove surface dirt and grime, may not effectively reduce or reverse the discolored varnish.

Cleaning agents may also react to different colors and pigments used throughout the painting. Some colors and layers are far more sensitive than others. There are paintings that simply cannot be cleaned, because the image layer is so sensitive that no known cleaning agent can effectively remove the discoloration without causing extensive damage. When a conservator doubts the survival of the image, the choice is sometimes made to leave the painting alone.

Similar consideration must also be given to the frame that surrounds the work of art. They possess the same sensitivities to solvents and cleaning agents as the art itself. Often times, the frame is more elaborate and decorative than the painting. Gold or silver leafed frames should never be wiped or cleaned with water or household cleaners. A clean soft brush or feather duster can be used to remove surface dirt and grime.

It is important to visually inspect paintings and frames regularly. Look for changes in or on the decorative surface. Loose canvas or small cracks that develop should signal a problem with the art or environmental conditions to which the art is exposed.  

Contact: Old World Restorations, Inc.  Cincinnati, Ohio for your Art Restoration and Conservation needs.  (513) 271-5459


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