The Infill: 14 February 2❤️19

The Infill: I can feel it in the air tonight

Don’t blow your wig, Honeychile

The headline is what grabbed us: ‘The reason why some Great Depression photos were punched full of holes‘. The video on 1930s slang is what kept us (the reason for said holes being a bit predictable in hindsight). But not so in thrall that we could not tear ourselves away for an answer to one of the most pressing questions of our time: ‘How do art museums decide what great works should be fridge magnets?‘ And then how on earth were we meant to resist ‘Museums are sending each other their best ducks pics‘? Or ‘Why a Medieval Woman Had Lapis Lazuli Hidden in Her Teeth‘? And this journalistic gem: ‘Why One Fed-Up Politician Keeps Tampering With a Historic Sculpture to Troll the British Parliament‘? Friends, we are ashamed to admit it but we did indeed blow our wig. And it wasn’t pretty.

News you can… you know the drill

If you, like some of us here at The Gathering, haven’t pared leather in yonks, but it crosses your mind every time you see that patch of abraded leather on the back of the left heel of your favourite pair of stilettos that you really should probably get rid of but you can’t bear to because you just love them so much and they are actually really comfortable despite what one sceptical friend keeps saying and you just hope that nobody notices that missing patch anyway, then (phew!) perhaps this video can refresh your memory. Alternatively, if your heels are in good nick then why not spend your next coffee break learning how to measure pH and conductivity with an agarose plug? Or get ‘close to the edge’ (oooh, racy) and hone (oh dear) your knife-sharpening skills with Gathering contributor Arthur Green’s impressively filmed video. Or how about trying some Turkish paper marbling? If you’ve got a spare thirty minutes, then why not learn how to make a headband (the book kind, not the hair-restraint kind) with one core in two colours? Or if gunpowder is your thing (we’re not here to judge), then this podcast just might help you arm yourself with some rootin’ tootin’, cowboy shootin’ techniques for making that heady mixture of saltpetre, sulphur and charcoal last. Giddy-up!

Devilish deeds

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your (English) garden grow? Guilt free, thanks, now that ‘the Indiana Jones of art’ has removed those stolen ancient Spanish carvings from it. Speaking of gardens, think of the crazy Bacchanalia you could have in yours if you could get your hands on one of these ancient Roman beauties! But hang on, there’s a battle of the ancient civilisations brewing. In the other corner, it’s ‘Dion! The “sacred place” of the Ancient Macedonians‘. Let the best mosaic win.

‘The most primitive form of paper making is the wasps nest.’ This statement really struck a chord with us, and not because of the glaring lack of a possessive apostrophe or because we have any affinity, empathy or even sympathy for wasps (especially after they violently attacked our stepson twice in two weeks last summer), but rather because we love paper, and we love being reminded that we humans are pretty darned clever, yet never quite as clever as nature. But we are arguably more dastardly, as researchers at the University of Southern Denmark discovered when scientific testing revealed that three pre-eighteenth-century manuscripts were laced with poison.

For a limited time only…

Nah, these things will probably be around for ages. But we were worried we needed to use high-pressure, hard-sell tactics in order to encourage you to download these Bauhaus books and journals. Free while supplies last!

If there’s one thing we cannot resist, then… ok, if there are two things we cannot resist, then the second is a good infographic. Use this one the next time those cheapskates from Accounting try to argue that acid-free is the only ‘piece of the preservation puzzle’. Also free while supplies last!

The same goes for Housing Archaeological Collections–A Free E-Publication. And it’s buy one, get one free to boot!

How about downloading 500 Japanese prints from Van Gogh’s personal collection? Order within the next 20 minutes and get a free set of steak knives.

If you missed this one, then don’t bother phoning in because it’s already out of stock: the touring career of the Van Gogh Museum’s copy of The Sunflowers. Conservators say it can no longer leave the museum. In brighter news, however, their investigations did yield some interesting findings. Another thing that does not (generally, unless you’ve got loadza cash and vanity) last is physical beauty. But conservators at Duke University have worked hard to preserve the adverts that tried to fool 100 years’ worth of women into thinking otherwise.

Your video treat:

is a celebration of craftsmanship. From cow to quill, it’s Making Manuscripts.

The final word…

… goes to conservator Chris Stavroudis in his video on measuring pH and conductivity: ‘wait for the happy face’. ‘Cuz you know, no matter how bad life might be, sometimes you just gotta be patient and wait for the happy face. It always shows up eventually.

Some people hate Valentine’s Day (or, “Valentime’s Day”, as some of our childhood schoolmates – the same ones who believed that George Washington died of ammonia – would say). But we love it. Because we love love! Whether it’s puppy love, human love or the love of conservation and cultural heritage, it truly is all you need. Ok, that and oxygen. And water. And some food every few days. Plus a nice cuddle with a warm and fuzzy doggie at least a fortnight or so. Hugs and sloppy kisses, The Gathering xoxoxoxo

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