Conservation, Medieval Portland Senior Capstone, Uncategorized

Medieval Capstone: Special Collections Illustration Preview

Hey, everybody! So, I’ll be meeting with Marjan tomorrow to look at the book and get more information about its history and possible ways to treat the problems with it, hypothetically. Now, this another part of my project, where I’ll be making illustrations for the Special Collections Code of Conduct (or Rules for Researchers) which can be found here.  I’ve been spending a few hours on Gimp gridding out the rules, and I’ll be putting the illustrations in the circles (the ugly blue shapes won’t be on the final draft, they’re just guides for the text and illustrations).

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I started a Patreon!

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I started a Patreon a couple days ago!

For those of you who don’t know, Patreon is a website you can act as a “Patron” to an artist, gamer, filmmaker, musician, and other types of creators on a monthly basis. Now, you can fund somebody for a single month then cancel your pledge, but personally, I think they really need to consider doing just one-off donations. It’s silly that they don’t.

I’ve been wanting to start one of my own for a while, but finally buckled down and decided to do it. I think my plan to go to Florence next year really put instilled a sense of urgency.

I’m actually having a lot of fun with it too! I’m looking at the “goals” thing as kind of like a gaming achievement system. I currently have my first goal there for $16/per month for coffee, and when I reach that goal, I’m going to make a series of small paintings made from coffee. This would be a good thing for me too because over the last few weeks I’ve been nothing but school and work that I haven’t forced myself to make time to create art.

I don’t know if this will be a super successful thing, but it’s fun, and that’s the most important thing, I think.

I also started a YouTube channel where I want to put cartoon video blogs kind of like Domics, Vanimation, and theodd1soutcomic. But THAT’S not happening until after this Asian art history midterm. :/ Again, not expecting an overnight success, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a couple of years but never had the courage to.

 

Conservation, MPF Conservation Internship

Imperial Monterey Session 2: Gunk Scraping!

In my past conservation projects, I learned that a crucial part about conservation may involve fixing past repairs, usually made by owners and sometimes fix-it shops. Weeks 2 and 3 of my internship at MPF Conservation were such a reminder of this fact.

During the second week, Katie and I went shopping for strapping leather at Oregon Leather for the Imperial Monterey Chair and a Stickley footstool. This was, I’m ashamed to say, my first time inside the shop. Oregon Leather had a delightfully odd set up with half of the first floor consisting of shelves filled with boxes of leather working tools, decorations, accents, and countless other things. The second half ha more leather jackets in one place than I’ve ever seen. There were also random piles of animal horns, shells, bones, and tails.

As I stood looking at the ox horns, I thought how cool it would be to do a leather working project like Visigoth or other such Viking armor.

I really love being in stores like this. It really had my head buzzing with ideas for costumes and leather crafts.

But we weren’t there to make armor that my Viking ancestors may or may not have worn, we were there for furniture parts!  We specifically needed Vegetable dyed grade A leather that was about 3 mm in depth. As much as we could, Katie and I tried to use as few hides as possible.

When purchasing leather, I learned that texture is a vital part of the selection process. When dying the leather, any textural imperfection such as stretch marks, bite marks, barb wire marks, and other such imperfections can exacerbate in the dying process. It’s no big deal for Monterey furniture; the blemishes give the leather more of a Wild West appearance. However, such blemishes for a Stickley footstool are undesireable and this split of leather would be used for both.

Of course, there were only a few available hides, and none of them were exactly perfect. Still, we had to make do because the leather we were getting was not something that most other leather crafters here in Portland used terribly often. The next shipment would not have been for a very long while.

During both these sessions, my assignment involved taking the chair apart and turning it into rubble. (Okay, not real rubble, but all parts were disassembled to allow for reparation of tenons and regluing with hide glue.)  It was challenging because people in the past have either tried to enhance the adhesion process (poorly) or reinforce it with multiple unnecessary screws.

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Like this one! What is up with this? I can’t… I can’t even…

I took apart the seat portion of the chair. It was a relatively simple task. I had to remove several screws and nails and take photographs as I took the chair apart.

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… a CARPENTER NAIL? Are you serious now? This was fun to remove, actually. 🙂

I took apart the back on the third week. This was the much trickier task. A past repair was done to it which involved using what Mitchell inferred as an acrylic base craft glue.

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Vinegar and Syringe

This was most fortunate because had it been an epoxy adhesive, I probably would have needed to use more toxic solvents. As it was, I only needed to use warm vinegar and inject it into the glue and screw holes using a 20mm needle syringe.

 

 

 

 

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This is the chair’s back. I labeled each piece.

 

For those of you unfamiliar with furniture terms, tenons and mortises are a type of joint that join furniture pieces together.  You can see an example, below.

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Left: Mortis/Right: Tenon

When the back was taken apart, Mitchell and I took a look at the mortises. Mitchell believed the mortises were formed using Forstner bits. This was unusual for an Imperial Monterey-style item because Forstner bits were used by hand rather than manufactured by machine in Los Angeles, California.

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The rest of my day consisted of scraping out the gunk from the tenons and mortises.

After scraping out the gunk, the next steps involve cleaning glues and the finish on the various parts.  Ideally, my next step is woodworking which would involve finding compatible wood and rebuilding the badly damaged or rotted tenons; this is going to be delayed until Mitchell can fully supervise me.  Next week I will finish up cleaning, and begin to work the leather:  Stay tuned!

© Ashley West.  My blog posts may be reposted; please link back to AshleyWestArtBlog.  Photos are property of MPF Conservation.

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Kintsugi Study

studyThis is an original sketch I did using Gimp rendering software. I’ve been taking a Photoshop class this term and it’s actually helping me understand Gimp a whole lot better. This is a quick digital painting I did of a Kintsuge style pottery. Kintsuge is a Japanese form of conservation which involves adhering broken pottery back together with gold. There’s a philosophy behind it that instead of hiding the breakage, you make it beautiful. I tried to make a flower-like design in the gold part.