A special visit

University of Brighton Design Archives, Sirpa Kutilainen
Martha and I busy surface cleaning Swedish ICOGRADA posters

On Monday the 14th, I had the pleasure of a visit from Martha, a friend and a fellow conservation graduate from my year at Camberwell. She is a conservation intern at the Parks Library & Archives Preservation Department at Iowa State University. She is also one of the contributors to the preservation/conservation blog at the institution should you be interested in reading what goes on behind the scenes at a well equipped conservation facility on the other side of the Atlantic.

University of Brighton Design Archives, Sirpa Kutilainen
The difference between a surface cleaned and non-surface cleaned area at the verso of a poster

She came down to Brighton for a day and offered an afternoon of labour with us at the Design Archives, which we simply could not refuse. We started work on the large format posters and made very good progress with them; documenting, surface cleaning and repairing a good handful of mainly Swedish posters at this time.

University of Brighton Design Archives, conservation, Sirpa Kutilainen
Martha removing a masking tape ‘repair’

There were, of course, a few cases of tape removal thrown in for good measure. Martha brought me a tool which I have to admit to not having used before – a crepe rubber! Rather excited about this slightly odd material that is very good for picking up adhesive residues. Crepe rubber is basically a crude form of natural rubber and is most often used to make shoe and boot soles. As well making our boots less slippery, as Martha demonstrated, it works wonders in removing those stubborn sticky residues left behind on the surface of the paper when the adhesive carrier has been removed. It can also be used for removing excess rubber cement.

University of Brighton Design Archives, conservation, Sirpa Kutilainen
Demonstrating the use of crepe rubber on adhesive residue

I am now, of course, looking forward to an object in my stack of ‘to do’ posters I can really test it on.

And to finish this blog post off, I would like to bring to your attention that in support of Movember, the Design Archives have compiled a selection of images of designers with moustaches from our collections. You can see this fantastic set of images, amongst others, on the Design Archives’ Flickr page.

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