Turning Trash into Treasure
I purchased a treasure on eBay earlier this year, this 1860 placard. As you can see it was stained, torn and looks like it should be tossed in the trash. Luckily the person who sold it to me realized the historic significance and didn’t just throw it away.
It was very fragile and stiff. It tore and cracked easily and was a dirty grey all over. I was afraid to do anything with it. I placed it on the top of a cabinet where it could lie flat and be protected until I could figure out what to do with it.
One night while Fred and I watched Antique’s Roadshow the appraiser suggested that the item be cleaned and restored by a paper conservator. In this specific case the spending of $600.00 could increase the value of the antique by 120%. Bells went off in my brain, and I told Fred I needed to take the placard to get it restored.
I searched for a paper conservator, and found a highly recommended one right here in Dallas: Tish Brewer at the Center for Art Conservation. She is an amazing lady and very skilled paper restorer. She knew who John Brown was because she stayed in Harpers Ferry completing a restoration project for the National Parks Service a few years ago. I knew that Grandpa would be in good hands with her.
Tish tested the colors and paper to ensure that she could wash the placard. She described the water bath, cleaning, drying and restoration procedures in detail. The last step of the restoration she explained was to line the back with Japanese long fiber tissue paper to stabilize the placard.
The Treasure is Revealed
Tish contacted me last week to let me know that the restoration was complete. Fred and I made arrangements to travel down to Dallas to pick it up.
The difference is AMAZING! Look how bright the colors are, how the background behind John Brown is brighter and clearer, and Grandpa is revealed in amazing detail.
Tish mended the tears, rips and filled in the missing corner. The difference is truly mind boggling. I knew it would look better, but what I got back exceeds my wildest dreams.
Now I need to take Grandpa to the skilled framer that Tish recommended to get framed in museum fashion so he can be added to the walls of my office.
I highly recommend Tish if any of my readers need paper restoration work done. Her contact information is below.
The Center for Art Conservation
4101 Commerce Street
Dallas, TX 75226