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Tuesday, May 30 • 4:30pm - 5:00pm
(Textiles) Making the Mold: A Use for Fosshape in Upholstery Conservation

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This paper describes an inventive technique to create replacement chair back upholstery using Fosshape. Fosshape, a non-woven polyester that can be manipulated into rigid three-dimensional shapes with the application of heat, has been gaining in popularity for the construction of custom mannequins, but the treatment of a suite of Hepplewhite-style furniture, c. 1790, from Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site prompted investigation into the material's potential in upholstery conservation. This suite, consisting of eight upholstered shield-back armchairs and coordinating sofa, has been on view in the "best parlor” of Schuyler Mansion since the house was opened to the public in 1917. In preparation for the upcoming centennial anniversary, a full treatment of the furniture was desired as the show cover and upholstery profiles were incorrect. Challenged by the compound curves of the frame and the need for two conservators to create eight consistent and correct replacement backs, a method for casting Fosshape over a custom mold was developed. The resulting lightweight and self-contained upholstery cake can be minimally attached to the frame and easily removed. This paper will review the development of the technique, evaluate the success of the method, and offer considerations for future applications of Fosshape in upholstery conservation.

Speaker(s)
avatar for Kirsten Schoonmaker

Kirsten Schoonmaker

Assistant Conservator, Shelburne Museum
Kirsten Schoonmaker is currently the assistant textile conservator at the Shelburne Museum. She received her training through the MA program in Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory and Museum Practice at the Fashion Institute of Technology and completed a Samuel H. Kress... Read More →

Co-Author(s)
avatar for Abby Zoldowski

Abby Zoldowski

Textile and Frame Conservator, NY State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Abby Zoldowski, Textile and Frame Conservator for New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Bureau of Historic Sites, came to Peebles Island in 2002 as an intern to help with a tapestry project. She has since found her true passion, Upholstery Conserva... Read More →

Tuesday May 30, 2017 4:30pm - 5:00pm
Crystal Ballroom C Lobby Level, West Tower

Attendees (78)