Do's and Don'ts
This section is dedicated to the procedures and techniques important
to know and learn for maintaining and keeping tapestries at their top
quality over the years. Periodically, there will be advice about what,
and what not to do: tricks and techniques for maintaining, cleaning, and
It is exactly about RESTORING that this
month's contribution begins.
It deals with a technical operation which aims to restore damaged parts
of the tapestry by giving it a better appearance, as similar as possible
to the original, and to make it last for a long time.
The technical process has different stages
This is the first stage: the restorer removes the tapestry from any mountings
or backings and begins his examination. The tapestry could have more or
less grave and evident damage: in any case, it needs to be studied specifically
to determine the action that will be taken.
The extent and nature of damage and degradation of the tapestry are ascertained.
Special attention is given to the physical condition of the material used:
the fibres are examined, which over the years may have been damaged and
weakened by atmospheric agents and chemical decay, or stress weaknesses
due, for example, to the wrong use of mountings which have strained the
The tapestry is repaired using tools and techniques suitable for the
Also at this stage it is necessary to give attention to the characteristics
of the tapestry fibres. The cleaning process, which may be mechanical
or chemical, depends on the fibre material: natural, synthetic, cotton,
silk. Detergents are used for washing which are suitable to remove dirt
composed of substances insoluble or poorly soluble in water, such as proteins,
dyes and fats. In any case, they must never alter the appearance and the
quality of the colours.
The tapestry will surely look remarkably better at the end of these
procedures, approaching, if not the same as the original image.