Category Archives: Textile

Cyanotype Quilt

This patchwork of sixty-six cyanotypes of people, animals and places in New York’s Capital Region, was lined with a satin weave fabric and attached to a board with several rows of double-sided tape. The focus of the treatment was to better preserve the patchwork.

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The patchwork quilt was vacuumed overall and stitching along the perimeters was released to remove the backing fabric. An overall cleaning was performed, and the patchwork was carefully and slowly dampened to align and straighten areas of the textile. A storage mount was constructed from acid-free board with strips of 4-ply board hinged to the four sides with linen tape. The textile was sandwiched between a muslin handling sling and a layer of acid-free tissue. The paper label of the image’s identification was encapsulated in a Mylar L-envelope.


A wonderful early coverlet arrived at Spicer Art Conservation in two halves with numerous damaged areas. The two halves had long ago been separated and therefore showed very different histories. The colors of the dyes of one half had greatly shifted in comparison to the other. Initially, the treatment included rejoining the two halves once the damaged areas were stabilized. After considerable discussions, the owner felt that the coverlet would remain as two separate pieces. 

 10-43a BT obverse

Before and after treatment of stabilized areas.

10-43b BT detail obverse 5 10-43b AT detail obverse 3

Mannequin Construction for America By Air exhibition at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum

Spicer Art Conservation, LLC was been contracted by the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum to construct 33 mannequins to support the uniforms of pilots and flight attendants from a variety of airlines for their upcoming exhibition America By Air, opening in the Fall of 2007 in the Hall of Air Transportation. We worked with SmallCorp who fabricated the armatures for the mannequins. 


More about the mannequins can be found at NASM’s website.

 A&S Protos w and wo head

For more information about our custom mannequin design, please choose “mannequins” from the pull-down menu under collection care, or click here.

Trade Banners from Maine Charitable Mechanics Association

In October 8, 1841, Portland’s “Maine Charitable Mechanics Association” held what proved to be the most lavish parade in its history. Prominent that day were 17 painted linen banners that each represent a different guild of skilled craftsman. The majority of the banners were painted by a member of the Association, William Capen, Jr.


These banners are now housed at the Maine Historical Society, Portland, Maine. More can be learned by going to Maine Memory. The project was to establish a system to both store and display these unusual two-sided banners.

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The banners are in remarkable condition for their 170 year age. In raking light the extent of creases and folds can be easily seen from years of being rolled in storage. 


Cleaning of this banner started on the right side in the images above. See the soot that has been removed over the word “LIVE” of the Ship Builder’s Banner.

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The treated and mounted banners were all stored in their customized storage rack.


Harness Silks

Spicer Art Conservation, LLC stabilized the fragile racing silks from the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame. The large collection was first surveyed and the jackets and caps were prioritized by condition. The silk fibers of the collection show signs of deterioration from hard use by the original owners. To read more about the rehousing, storage, and treatment of this collection, click here.

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After treatment photo of silk racing jacket, with padded inserts

During the treatment of the deteriorated silk caps, the threads were aligned and secured. Custom storage pillows were made for each arm and body of the jacket, as well as for the internal support of each hat.


This cap’s brim was completely fragmented. The various pieces were assembled and supported with inert and archival materials.

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After treatment photograph of the hat with brim repaired.