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tribaltextiles.info • View topic - Question on preserving old beadwork & embroidery

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 2:34 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 5:07 am
Posts: 6
Location: Singapore
Hello,

Recently i acquired some old pieces of Peranakan (Straits Chinese) beadwork and am wondering if you could advise on the display and more importantly, preservation of such old delicate pieces:

1) Beaded shoes in a fragile state with the soles decaying while the beadwork is mainly intact, though there is a tear encroaching the sides of the beadwork
==> Am thinking of putting it in a glass box as recommended by the seller, if i do this, is there a special kind of glass (e.g. UV protected etc) that is recommended? What abt the level of moisture etc in the glass box?

2) Beaded panels (lengths vary from 9 inches to 25 inches)
==> Framing seems a good option, likewise any concerns with framing such as type of glass & frames, or the condition of the items, which are rather fragile and some have broken strands.

Thank you for your suggestions.

Adrian


Attachments:
File comment: These are the pair of shoes, as can be seen, sole is giving way and actually the beadwork base at the sides of the sole are also very very fragile..
peranakan_child_beaded_shoes.jpeg
peranakan_child_beaded_shoes.jpeg [ 26.88 KiB | Viewed 11043 times ]
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 7:31 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:30 am
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 Post subject: Thank you
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:19 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 5:07 am
Posts: 6
Location: Singapore
Iain, thank you for your very informative sharing :D. i must admit u do take pride in your collection and pieces...though it is a lot of new info for a layman like me but i appreciate ur time and effort in writing that piece.

Such pieces of old Peranakan beadwork are usually stitched or threaded using cotton (natural) threads because in those days in this part of the world, nylon threads were probably unknown.

I have a few further questions:
Q1: When u mention incandescent lighting, does it refer to fluorescent lighting too that can have potentially damaging effects on old textiles?

Q2: You mentioned "felt-covered boards", may i know is felt also acid-free by nature?

Thanks again for your help. i may not be able to keep track of my pieces with such professionalism and tools, but i will take heed your advise esp. on not framing the beaded panels but to place them onto angled boards for display. In this part of the world, textile conservation has not reached the level of understanding & practice you described, except perhaps for the museum authorities and top-end art galleries. Most antique shops and framing companies here whom i spoke to just advised me to frame or box it up in glass, not mentioning anything such as moisture level, acid-free backing or UV protection etc, though some which cater to museums do have such expertise.

Hope ur post and that of others will highlight the importance of preserving our sensitive heritage treasures.

Cheers,
Adrian


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 Post subject: Further to preservation
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 10:58 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:30 am
Posts: 315
Greetings Adrian
Regarding felt pH: This will depend on the felt manufacturing process - pH of water used in washing the fibres and the steaming process as well as the dyes used to colour the felt.
Regarding fluorescent and incandescent lighting: This I suppose is always one of those things that requires balance.... no matter what form of light you use it will be harmful to your pieces. That said there is no need for everything to be in a black box and viewed with night vision glasses! Although flourescent lighting also emits a high percentage of UV perhaps the strangest thing about this light is that the colours rendered by the exhibited pieces appear very unnatural - no reds and a high preponderance of blue. The term colour rendering index (CRI) is often used in discussing lighting where natural light is 100. Fluorescent lights range widely anything from 50 to >95 whilst incandescent lighting is usually above a CRI of 95.
One of the main problems with incandescent lighting is the heat produced which is of course very detrimental. There is always going to be a balance between heat and effective lighting. The lamps I use are actually tungsten halogen lamps which are covered with a borosilicate front to significantly reduce UV as well as protect against explosion (which does happen!). Especially if you have these linked to one power unit the surge of one exploding lamp can cause a chain reaction. I try to use lighting that is diffused. What does this mean? I try not to focus my lights directly on to a fragile object by having several lights available to light up an area. This allows me to use a lot of 'spilled light' and also means that I can actually dim the lighting - which saves energy and bulb lifetime whilst, more significantly, reducing the heat energy affecting the displayed objects. Using this method there is really little noticeable reduction in CRI or ease of viewing. I have not had experience with fibre optics, which currently seem to be the rage, but it would appear that the control that you achieve is significantly higher and more energy efficient.
Best regards
Iain


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 1:14 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:30 am
Posts: 315
Greetings Adrian
With your interest in Strait's Chinese beadwork/embroidery I am sure you are aware of the excellent reference by Wing Meng Ho. For the rest of us this book, published in 1987 and now sadly out of print, is 176 pages of excellent text and accompanying images. There appears to have been a reprint in 1991 but this too is out of print. However, a number of copies are available from a variety of sources. Details are as follows:
Ho, W. M. (1987). Strait's Chinese Beadwork and Embroidery. Times Books International. ISBN 978 9971651947.
Regards
Iain
PS Pamela, if this should be in the books section my apologies


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 Post subject: Thanks Iain
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2007 4:03 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 5:07 am
Posts: 6
Location: Singapore
Iain,

The good news is that there is a year 2003 reprint as well, and the book is available in some bookshops in Singapore and Malaysia.

Select Book Stores also carries the book:
http://www.selectbooks.com.sg/getTitle.cfm?SBNum=11226

It indeed is a great reference on Straits Chinese beadwork/embroidery works with beautiful samples.

Do check it out and i am sure they do ship overseas :)

Thanks Iain for your kind help!!

Adrian


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 9:53 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2006 7:22 am
Posts: 68
Location: germany
Greetings,
Talking about lighting, like the rest of us probably, I take a flashlight to museums to see the textiles, now a LED one. After a couple of discussions with musuem guards, I checked out the UV output of LEDs.

From everything I could see on the internet, it is virtually nil. :-)

One can argue about the quality of "white" LED light; in museums, its better than nothing. Household LED lighting is becoming evailable.

Regards, Larry


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 Post subject: Adrian - URGENT!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 1:40 pm 
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Site Admin

Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
Posts: 2001
Location: Canterbury, UK

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Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
on-line tribal textiles resource


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 2:10 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
Posts: 2001
Location: Canterbury, UK

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
on-line tribal textiles resource


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