by Megan Creamer, graduate MPhil Textile Conservation, 2018.
Last week, five graduates of the Centre for Textile Conservation and one University of Glasgow doctoral graduate presented their research and current work at the American Institute for Conservation 47th Annual Meeting in May 2019. The meeting took place on Mohegan tribal lands in Uncasville, Connecticut, and was attended by hundreds of conservators and conservation students from all over the world.
Caitlyn Picard (’16) presented on her research on light bleaching of textiles, testing and applying techniques used in paper conservation with the 20-minute paper “Taking Cues and Measuring Hues: Using Paper Conservation Methodology in the Light Bleaching of Textiles.” Using replicate samples and controlled variables, this work compares efficacy, time, and safety of different light exposure methods to white cotton textiles. Analysis of this work is still in progress during her post-graduate textile conservation internship at the Canadian Conservation Institute in Québec City. Caitlyn will present on the last stage of her research at the North American Textile Conservation Conference in Ottawa in the fall of 2019.
Hannah Sutherland (‘16) presented a poster titled “Accessible Approaches to High-Tech Analysis,” which carries on research from her dissertation research and the Tapestry Monitoring Research Project, done when the CTC was based out of the University of Southampton, 2007 – 2010. Her research looks at Digital Image Correlation (DIC) to monitor strain on hanging textiles and looks to continue discussing the techniques of stitched supports in light of new analytical techniques. Hannah is currently an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Textile Conservation at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, working with costume and tapestries.
Staphany Cheng (’18) presented her dissertation research in a 20-minute paper titled ‘Agarose-Alpha-Amylase Application in Textile Conservation.” Staphany’s research looked at the efficacy of agarose gels with alpha-amylase enzymes to remove accreted wheat starch on cotton plain weave textiles. Her research quantified efficacy of removal, as well as extent and rate of aqueous diffusion to the textile for agarose gels of different concentrations. Exploratory analyses regarding residual enzymes retained in the textile were also performed. Staphany continues to explore gel application in textiles while at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as the Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Textile Conservation.
Megan Creamer (’18) presented a 20-minute paper on the first phase of her dissertation research which was titled “Beyond Cavitation: Investigating Ultrasound in Immersion Cleaning Environments.” This paper used diagrams and animation to broaden understanding of the action and effects of ultrasonic cavitation and used replicate sample testing with controlled variables to explore the change in cavitation with changes in cleaning solution, and ultrasonic amplitude. Megan is the Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Objects Conservation at Historic New England in Massachusetts and is pursuing publication of the remainder of her dissertation research.
Lauren García Vedrenne (’18) presented a poster titled “Working With and Against Static,” which detailed the diminishing or increasing of static electricity in conservation treatments. By exploiting the known values of materials on the triboelectric series, static can be controlled to have the maximum benefit to a conservation treatment. This analytical look at controlling static was explored through the treatment of a painted silk embroidery that was extremely sensitive to relative humidity and static. In the fall, Laura will be taking up the position of Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Textile Conservation at the de Young Museum in San Francisco.
Dr. Jing Han (PhD ’17) presented the 20-minute paper “Normalized Peak Area Distributions with HPLC-DAD-MS as a Tool for Differentiating Madder and Cochineal Lakes in Easel Paintings” to the Research and Technical Studies group. Jing’s research compared different methods of dye extraction, separation, and quantitation. As a Fellow at the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles. Jing also took the opportunity to give a presentation on the pitfalls of scientific analysis at the 2nd Annual ‘Mistakes Lunch,’, reminding us that mistakes in analysis can happen, and can be corrected by a vigilant scientist. Her candour and humour were greatly appreciated by all attendees.
There was also of course, time for socializing, and many other CTC alumnae also attended, including Nora Frenkel (‘16), Beth Knight (’17), Kathleen Martin (’18), and PhD alumna Dr. Julie Wertz (’18). It was great to meet everyone’s colleagues working in the Americas and see so many excellent talks and posters across all the specialty groups. Thank you to AIC for organizing an excellent meeting, and to the Mohegan Tribe, and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation for graciously hosting on their lands.