The Atelier DeLibro conserves graphic documents – posters, prints, watercolours, maps, or any object composed of paper – and books from any era. But the intervention is neither automatic nor systematic. It is always the result of a serious study of the document, its condition and its environment (storage before and after treatment). Every item is unique and its conservation will be adjusted according to different levels of intervention.
LEVELS OF INTERVENTION AND GOALS
There are three levels of intervention:
All the actions applied in order to avoid or minimize the deterioration or future loss on an object. They take place in the context or the environment of a cultural item but more frequently of a whole collection, whatever its age or condition. These actions are indirect and do not intervene on the materials or the structure of the item. They do not change its appearance neither. Examples: actions to insure a well-done inventory, storage, manipulation, packing, transport, safety, environmental control (such as lighting, humidity, pollution, infestation), emergency plans, staff training, information to the public, conformity with juridic norms.
All the actions directly undertaken on the cultural item itself or a collection in order to stop an active process of deterioration or to act on its structure. These actions take place only when the existence of the items are short-term threatened, because of high fragility or rapid destruction. These actions can sometimes modify the appearance of the items.
Examples : disinfection of textiles, removing the salt from ceramics, paper de-acidification, checked drying of wet archeological materials, stabilization of corrosive metals, consolidation of wall paintings.
All the actions directly undertaken on a cultural document, singular and in a stable condition, in order to improve its assessment, understanding and use. These actions take place only when the item lost a part of its meaning or its function because of deterioration or previous reforming interventions. They are based on the respect of the original materials. They mainly change the appearance of the item.
Examples of actions of Conservation: retouching a painting, putting together the fragments of a broken sculpture, reforming a basketwork object, fill the missing parts of a glass vase.*
*Definitions from the Terminology established by the Resolution adopted by the ICOM-CC members for the 15th triennial Conference, New Delhi, 22-26 of September 2008.
Goals of Conservation
The conservator’s work can reach different goals, depending on the condition and the future use of the object, but also according to the finances and the intentions of the owner. The conservator looks for stabilizing the condition of the item and stopping its degradation in order to help to its transmission to the next generations. In general, a book needs a supplementary intervention on the structure of the object for being manipulable and accessible (digitalization or public access). A document conserved for an exhibition or a collector would also suppose an intervention on the aesthetic of the object.
In order to define the objectives of the conservator and the level of intervention of the treatment, the Atelier DeLibro will establish a quote, made of a full and detailed documentation of the document.
PLAN OF INTERVENTION
The Atelier DeLibro can visit you and establish a free quote for the eventual treatment; but more than a cost estimate, the quote is generally a full documentation of the item.
The conservator composes a technical record of the object, containing structural and material informations on the item. Historical details are also added to this form, as the author, the date, the historical context, the provenance, etc. That is what we call the identity of the object.
Knowing the composition and the provenance of the document, the conservator is able to describe the condition of the item and its different elements: level of degradation, identification of the damages and their causes. From this study, the conservator can deduce an adapted treatment proposal.
From this preliminary analysis, we establish a treatment proposal. that During the intervention, there is a possibility that the treatment slightly changes from what was previewed in the quote. In this case, the client will be informed; the conservator’s work is always realized in collaboration with the client, in order to make him concerned by the conservation of his object.
When we are in charge of treating a document, the work is composed by different steps:
Mechanical cleaning by brushing and gumming or aqueous bath with various solutions or water.
Test of pH of the paper and different elements of the item; identification and analysis of materials; test of solubility of the inks, necessary before a aqueous treatment.
Disinfection, if the document is contaminated; de-acidification if the pH of the paper is acidic, by bath or by spraying.
This can take place in situ or by taking off the elements from the object: Examples: reinforcing tears, infills, flattening, etc.
Sewing of the body of the book, realization of a full binding or a cover identical to the original, etc.
Colours of the added materials tinted if necessary (for aesthetic in general). The colour is added with a reversible method (watercolour, gouache, etc.) and always one tone under the color of the original.
Keeping the document protected from the light in a made to measure chemise or box is a safe way of storing the document, better protected from climate changes and external aggression as manipulation for instance.
The report contains a technical, material and historical description of the document and the detailed process of intervention (products and methods used for the treatment) documented with photographs. The report is also a guidance for the owner to know how to behave in order to guarantee the good conservation of the document.
Each document is unique for the conservator and the treatment applied can be very different depending on the condition and the identity of the document. The list above is only indicative and we cannot guarantee that the treated document will receive all these interventions. The quote is made for getting the opportunity to the conservator to observe carefully the item and to adapt his intervention to the real condition and needs of the document. See the Portfolio to get an idea of previous works realized by the Atelier DeLibro.