Home Contact | Advertising Subscribe Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia
Search Listings
Alberta British Columbia Oregon Washington
Exhibition Previews
Gallery Websites
Conservation Corner

To find gallery listings use search at page top right.


Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)

Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)

Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum
Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)
Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 2)

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 1)

After treatment
Oscar Cahén: Innovative Conservation
for an Innovative Artist

Rigid Water Gels: New Treatment Options for Paper Conservators

Structural Remedies for Canvas Paintings

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 4: Digital-based Material

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 3: Photo-based Material

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 2: Paper-based Material

First Steps
Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 1: The First Steps

Natural Dyes
The Use of Natural Dyes in Textile Conservation

A Relocation Project

Challenges of Preserving Contemporary Artwork

Preserve Your Investment through Art Conservation

A Project Completed: Heritage Preserved

Old and New Methods for Cleaning Paintings

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I? Part 2

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I?

The E.J. Hughes Mural: An Expanded Project

Is She or Is She Not an Emily

Treating Art with Sensitive Media

Malaspina Mural: An Update

For the Artist: Testing Your Materials

Conservator as Art Historian

Alum Sizing and the Art of W.J. Phillips

Treatment of an Elizabeth Keith Wood Block Print

Structural Treatment of an Emily Carr

The Treatment of a Monumental Wall Hanging

Changing Images

Preserving a Rare Record

Gold Leaf: Imitation and Genuine

The Case Against Canvas Backings

Heritage Colours: Research Discovers Original Colours

Lighting Your Art: Balancing Seeing and Protecting

The Double-Sided Emily Carr Painting

Choosing a Period Picture Frame

How to Identify a Picture Frame

Stretching Canvas and Restretching Artwork

Mounting Textiles

Aging Paintings:
Some Causes and Effects

Chine Collé Prints

What's Your Favourite Color?

Backing Removals

Rips, Holes and Tears

Filling in the Gaps

DIY – Preventative Care of Paintings

Frame it Right

Fire, Water and Smoke-Damaged Paintings

Inherent Vice

Saturated Problems:
A Water-Damaged Painting

Moldy Paper

Conserving Time

Conserving Paper: Dos and Don'ts

Repair of Textiles

Conserving Wood

Rescuing Endangered Murals

Repairing Acid-Matte Burn

Art Services & Materials
Exhibition Openings & Events

Conservation Corner Back June-July-August 2016

Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum

by Nadine Power

First Nations deer hide drum with tear, pre-treatment

First Nations deer hide drum with tear, pre-treatment

When a client brought me this West Coast First Nations drum, I had to do considerable testing and research before coming up with a treatment plan. The drum is made of deer hide, a material I didn’t have a great deal of experience with and is decorated with acrylic paint. The drum had hung in the home of my client for some time, but with fluctuations in humidity and temperature, the hide had split, resulting in the large tear.

The piece had been made by their nephew and was for display purposes only. Their main concern was the final appearance, and they assured me that the drum would never be played. With this in mind, I tried to establish a restoration method that would result in the best appearance without compromising the materials used by the artist. The artist had decorated the drum with acrylic paints, and I felt that using some modern materials would be acceptable.

The first step was to bring the edges of the split close enough together that they could be bridged with another material. The large flap of hide that had broken away from the main body of the drum had become very stiff and the edges had begun to curl, making this task difficult. With humidity, heat and weights, I slowly coaxed the flap into a flat surface and brought it closer to the main edge. At this point I was able to secure the two edges closer together using a fine material that bridged the back of the two edges with an adhesive that would be unlikely to react to environmental fluctuations.

Post-treatment drum, with tear mended

Post-treatment drum, with tear mended

The next step was to hide the approximately 1 to 2 cm gap that still remained between the two edges. The drum had a very specific texture that could not be mimicked with the regular gesso fill methods. Instead I chose a very fine Japanese tissue that had a similar colour to the original deer hide. I cut the paper to match the gap between the two edges and applied it to the existing material. Once the base matched, I was then able to paint with acrylics to connect the areas of design that were missing.

This treatment took me out of my comfort zone as a conservator and challenged me to think about working with new materials. The juxtaposition of traditional materials and techniques and modern acrylic paints was also important to consider, as I endeavoured to respect the original methods and intent of the artist. My client was also very pleased with the result and reported that the drum is back in its original location.

Previously: Next issue: Distortions and Dimensional Changes in Paper: Prevention and Acceptance (Part 3)
Next issue: Next issue: Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)


 Sat, Sep 10, 2016