Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Restoration Project

As a favour for my good friend Felted House who's having a really difficult year, I agreed to try and restore a pastel picture. This was a picture of her father at some point in his youth, probably dating back 60 years. Unfortunately it had been stored rolled up which had then been crushed and subject to the dreaded mould. Now I'm not a professional restorer, and let's be honest who could afford to have work done by a professional, but generally if you take the least invasive/damaging approach first then hopefully you can effect more good than harm. Artists among you will know that to remove creases, you need to stretch the paper, which involves soaking it and then taping it down to a flat surface and leaving to dry. Because the portrait was done in pastels, this wasn't an option. I decided to gently mist the reverse of the paper with water to dampen it and then taped it down to the table. I did this a couple of times over a few days and it worked quite well. I also covered it over with a sheet of large paper, but this was more to stop my 6 year old 'helping' with the addition of her crayons.
I then had original-looking paper but still the dreaded mould:

It was a bit difficult to make out some of the features due to the spread of fungus and I didn't really want to add any pastel for fear of masking the original artist's style. So very gingerly, I set about with a stiff bristle paint brush ( artist's, that is, not decorator's!) and worked away at the mould.

Here you can see where I've tackled it and which bit is still infected:

        I simply redistributed some of the pastel and it's almost as good as new. Ta da!

There are still some cracks visible, but I don't think that's a bad thing and I even managed to preserve the artist's signature.


Twiglet said...

That looks amazing - I bet Felted House will be so thrilled with it.

Poppy Cottage said...

Oh that is just so fantastic. Although this has been a crappy year (already) for FH, having friends like you help.

It is really brilliant xx

Felted House said...

Yes a public thank you for all your work on this - it was such a surprise to find it in the first place and so sad that it was all wrecked, but I'm so pleased to have it restored so sensitively without losing its character. xxxx

tammykingdon said...

Aww shucks, thanks for all your praise. It really is amazing how it worked out with such little intervention from me!

Cathy said...

Clever old you Tammy. You have certainly made a difference. It is a really excellent pastel portrait and so nice to see the damage reversed. I think painting restoration is a SCARY job. I could never do that.