Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Restoration, Step by Step

"Restoration:" a big word that means bringing your antiques back to useful life.

Many restorers, myself included, work quietly -- and are thrilled when no one even realizes we've had a hand in replacing that worn patch, or rebinding a tattered edge. That's our job, after all: to present the piece in a way that no one knows we were there.

That's what makes this long, involved post on restoring a David Livingstone artifact so interesting.

Remember Livingstone? He was one of the great African explorers and missionaries. Now the Museum of Scotland has mounted an exhibit of artifacts connected with him: "Doctor Livingstone, I Presume?"

One of the pieces, a net used to catch antelope, had problems.
Big problems.

The cording was torn and disintegrating in many places. No wonder, considering its age and the harsh African environment. 

Tattered cords - what a mess
With care, and the use of Japanese mulberry paper cord, the twists were restored:

Restored. Not perfect -- but what an improvement.
The post shows how the conservators came up with a workable solution; each step is documented in photos. Simple, fairly basic -- and brilliant.

The David Livingstone exhibit runs at the National Museum of Scotland through April 7, 2013.

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