Conservation and Costuming

I finally posted more pictures on my Flickr page (see right).

Since my last post I’ve done a bunch of conservation stuff and it’s very exciting! Lately, though, I’ve been helping Cara organize the studio and make it more habitable. It’s a good time of the year for all that cleaning and organizing, but I’ll be glad when it’s done!

Before the cleaning I got to make some supports for socks and belts, make some padded hangers, and put together a box of hats. (I’ve got pictures of all these things on my Flickr page.)

The padded hangers were pretty simple. I took a big wooden hanger, wrapped strips of felt around it and stitched it down all nice and tidy. Then I wrapped cotton around the whole thing in a clever way that resulted in only one seam along the bottom edge (not shown in the pictures). It’s kinda tricky to wrap stuff evenly around a slightly curved triangular object! The pants-hangers were much easier since they’re just rectangles.

The supports for the socks and belts consisted mainly of cutting rectangles out of special thick archival board. I cut little slits into the board so I could lace some twill tape through it that could be used to tie down the objects, which were first wrapped in tissue paper and Tyvek.

The hat box was fun, though I injured my shoulder while cutting the archival board for the dividers. I think this can safely be attributed to the rather dull exacto blade I was using.

Anyway, I cut out boards to make walls and had to make them interlock with each other so they would stay in place. I was pretty proud of my precise cutting and the fact that I cut things out correct usually on the first try. Go me!

Then I had to build little “nests” out of acid-free tissue paper for the hats to sit in and get proper support. I wrapped up the tassels on the graduation caps in tissue paper and finished off the box with a layer of tissue paper on top that tucks in on the sides all neat and tidy.

Cara tells me that the ultimate goal in conservation is to make things neat, tidy and “precious”. Symmetry, precision and little ribbon bows are the key tools to be used in this aim. Clearly, this is not a field for those lacking proper anal-retentiveness.


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