Course review: ‘Adhesives: Properties, Preparation and Characteristics’

Louise Vaile of Ogilvie Vaile Conservation (Works of art on paper), reviews the 11th–12th June 2012 adhesives course organised by the Icon Book & Paper Group Co-operative Training Register (CTR) and held at the Conservation Centre, National Museums Liverpool.

20120612 CTR adhesives course
Twelve conservators, the majority from private practice, attended this course, given by Dr. Andrea Pataki-Hundt of the State Academy of Art and Design, Stuttgart. Dr. Pataki-Hundt teaches in the field of conservation adhesives and has written extensively on this subject.

The first session of this two-day course looked at proteinaceous adhesives: sturgeon glue, gelatine (Type A and Type B) and parchment glue. We were given a PowerPoint presentation covering the variety and origin of these glues, their viscosity/Bloom grade (in relation to gelatine) and preparation/usage. In the second session, we examined the structure and properties  such as viscosity and degree of polymerisation of cellulose ether-based adhesives: methyl cellulose, hydroxypropyl cellulose (HPC) and carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC). The final session of the day covered polysaccharides: wheat starch, rice starch, modified starch and Funori/JunFunori (polysaccharide/protein).

Having completed the theory, we then headed up to the large and splendidly equipped Paper Studio, where we prepared all the adhesives mentioned above, using recipes provided by Dr Pataki-Hundt. It was a very useful exercise in that we all prepared a wide range of adhesives, using different methods, a number of which we were unfamiliar with.

Day two of the course covered the theory of why adhesives stick, their characteristics and ageing properties. Dr Pataki-Hundt showed slides of various case studies from her work at the State Academy of Art and Design, Stuttgart, including the preparation of goldbeaters skin, the use of sturgeon glue to repair tears, the use of gelatine as a consolidant and the use of Tylose MH 300 (methyl hydroxy ethyl cellulose) in the repair of parchment.

In the final session, we split into groups of two or three and were given three case studies to discuss amongst ourselves and then present to the group. Each case study involved a problematic object, for which we had to select the appropriate adhesive or adhesives for its treatment. The day concluded with a second visit to the studio, where we prepared remoistenable tissues with the adhesives made the previous day.

The course content, location, facilities and administration were all very good and made for an enjoyable two days. I am only sorry that I was unable to attend the second training day, held in Oxford on 14th June 2012.

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