[Northkeep] Historical question...

Jennifer Carlson talana1 at hotmail.com
Thu May 20 14:08:22 PDT 2010

Deep breaths, Talbot.  Deep breaths.


It was the principality petition that was laminated, not a banner.  And that lamination was most likely done out of a concern to protect the paper and keep the pigment from flaking off, and to seal out moisture.  This was also done more than thirty years ago.  Hermetic sealing was not the conservation bugbear it is considered today, but a viable option for preserving a document.


Ideally, yes, the document should have been preserved differently, but SCA documents and artifacts do not have the luxury of residing in museums, with museum-level care.


I have an embroidered piece I made when I was fifteen.  It's a personal treasure.  My mother insisted I have it framed, and took me to a frame shop, where the man in charge convinced us that "vacuum blocking" was the best thing for needlework.  Vacuum blocking involves stretching the fabric and mounting it on a piece of cardstock (probably not archival quality) with a permanent glue.  Had I known then what I learned later about textile convservation, I would have run screaming with the embroidery clutched to my chest.  As the years have passed, the chemicals from the glue have infiltrated through the fabric and changed the color, and I have no idea what they've done to the fibers' structural integrity.  There is no way to remove it, so when the cardstock acidifies, the released acids will eat into the fabric and embroidery threads.  I don't blame myself, however, or even the frame-shop guy.  It was 1978, and we've just learned so much more since then.


Last year, Diarmaid and I went to Cape Kennedy and toured the museums (seriously cool stuff).  On display was one of the many moon buggies.  What got me excited was seeing the CELLOPHANE TAPE that had been used to hold wires to metal uprights.  With the years, the tape had yellowed and curled at the edges, just like the cellophane tape my mother used to tape my school pictures to construction paper Christmas ornaments (which have, amazingly survived the decades).  I blurted out loud "They need to take that stuff OFF!"  On reflection, it was a tribute to that awful, non-archival cellophane tape that it had the necessary moxie to be used on the moon.


Back in the earlier days of the SCA, polyester knit was used for costumes, and we used helms made from freon cans and armor made of carpet.  We've learned and grown, not only in how we produce our craft items, but also in how we care for them.


In servicio,



who shudders at what people might think if her first costume ever came back from the dead


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