Yesterday eight of the ICON interns and myself had a fantastic visit to the Tate Britain where Eleanor Johnson is currently doing an internship in paper conservation and the British Museum where Carol Peacock is working on Chinese scrolls and Anne-Marie Taberdo is working in the facsimile department.
We started off the day at the Tate Britain where we got to see some of the interesting work Eleanor has encountered. Most interesting was regarding the conservation and maintenance of The Coral Reef by Mike Nelson. The installation is a maze of rooms with a wide variety of objects and media strewn about. This exhibit seems to have been a particular struggle for the museum staff as several items have been stolen, vandalized or broken. Eleanor has done some work on the paper items within the exhibition and has also had the opportunity to source some facsimiles to replace damaged items.
Next we visited Anne-Marie’s studio where we were able to get a glimpse of her work in facsimile making. She has been able to learn both traditional and modern mold and cast making techniques and is currently working toward completion of a bust facsimile. With the original and its mold in nearly ready to be completed she is looking forward to practicing the art of colouring.
Following our visit to the facsimiles we headed down in the underbelly of the museum to visit the mounting and print departments followed by Carol’s studio. Each department had several examples of their work on display for us to view and careful explanations were given. I was surprised to find out that the mounts for the unusual shaped fans were done by hand, a job I would be hesitant to take on.
Carol’s studio was the last stop on the tour. The space itself was very light and airy with plenty of room to take on the long Chinese and Japanese scrolls the staff are working on. Carol has been fortunate to have a very good mentor and has had the opportunity to hone her hand skills through making her own tools and assisting in the lining of Chinese scrolls. I found the studio very interesting and inspiring in their preservation of traditional methods and techniques.