Artlab conservators care for cultural heritage and work in their specialised area in the five sections of Artlab.
Objects conservators work on a broad range of three-dimensional objects covering all aspects of their care, such as preservation, examination, documentation and research, storage and handling advice, conservation treatment and repair.
The variety and combination of materials that are addressed in the Objects section are vast and include ceramics, glass, ivory, bone, ethnographic material, furniture, wood, metal items and modern synthetic materials such as plastics and resins.
Members of the public bring in items ranging from family heirlooms and collectibles including ceramics, artworks and jewellery to sentimental personal keepsakes, such as war medals, dolls and toys.
Objects conservators design and make display systems for objects on exhibition. They also safely pack items for travelling exhibitions and create storage containers to safeguard objects while in storage.
The Objects team is available for advice regarding object preservation, including informative talks to small museum staff and special interest groups.
Paintings conservators carry out treatments on oil paintings, acrylic paintings, mural paintings and frames. The types of treatment undertaken on paintings include: removal of discoloured varnish layers and old overpaint, removal of dirt or smoke residue, tear repairs, consolidation of unstable paint, filling and inpainting of paint losses to match the surrounding paint, stretching of canvases onto existing or new stretcher supports, lining or strip lining of degraded canvases and resecuring paintings into frames with improved padding.
The types of treatment undertaken on frames include oil and water gilding, structural repair, cleaning, stabilisation of loose decoration and replacement of lost decoration.
Other services the painting section provides include the design and manufacture of display systems, packing of paintings for travel, conservation surveys of paintings collections, preparation of paintings for loan and exhibitions, condition reports and advice to clients on storage and handling of paintings and environmental conditions.
The paintings section also undertakes the technical examination of paintings which can involve examination using an infrared vidicon machine, UV light and an
x-ray machine. Paintings conservators can facilitate the analysis and identification of paintings materials.
Paper and Books
A significant part of the word’s heritage is in paper format - from books and archival documents, to artworks, and photographs. Our conservators are familiar with the composition of these items and know how to conserve them in a sympathetic way, so that their life can be extended as far as possible.
Drawings, prints, manuscripts and artworks are expertly treated to remove damage such as stains, holes and tears. Torn and damaged maps and posters can be flattened and repaired. To prevent future damage we construct boxes, portfolios, and encapsulations.
Photographs are treated by conservators who have a specialist knowledge of photographic techniques and materials. The treatment of photographs is often complex and Artlab conservators can carry out structural repairs, such as mending tears or holes, and flattening creased or rolled photographs.
Our specialist book conservators repair damaged and deteriorated bound volumes so that they are able to be used again without further damage. The conservators aim is to stabilise the damage with minimal treatment in order to preserve their historical and aesthetic qualities.
The projects laboratory is where large three dimensional objects of all types and construction, can be cleaned and treated to prevent and repair damage.Alternatively, very large objects like outdoor sculptures, monuments and buildings are treated in situ.
Some common reasons for large objects requiring treatment are accidental damage, vandalism, water damage including rust and corrosion and the effects of environmental pollutants such as bird droppings, acid rain and vehicle emissions. Many items have great historical significance to the city and community.
The conservators in this area are skilled in the management of large projects involving a number of parties and service providers. They are trained in chemistry and applied science as they need to understand which solvents and adhesives to use in repairing and treating objects and also have a good knowledge of engineering and technology issues, and building materials such as granite, marble and metals and their properties.
Textile conservation undertakes treatments on a wide range of textiles such as costume, uniforms, flags, banners, embroideries, wall hangings, tapestries, carpets and soft furnishings to name a few.
Our Principal Textile Conservator also travels overseas
to museums in the Asia Pacific region to conduct workshops in textile conservation techniques.
The treatments undertaken vary widely depending on the requirements of each individual textile. They can range from creating a large bath on the floor to wash a carpet in our purpose built washroom to incredibly fine detailed stitching on a fragile textile fragments in our light filled textile studio.
Textile conservation combines a passion for textiles, patience and an eye for detail.