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Tuesday, May 30 • 3:00pm - 3:30pm
(Textiles) The Characterization of ‘Foxing’ on Textiles

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‘Foxing,' a term used by paper conservators to describe yellow to brown spotted staining, has long been researched and debated in paper conservation literature and has been attributed to both fungal and metal contaminants in paper. While a visually similar phenomenon is frequently observed on textiles, and the term ‘foxing' has been taken up by textile conservators, it has not as of yet been sufficiently characterized in a textile context. Using survey data gathered from textile conservators around the world, this project first investigates how frequently ‘foxing' is observed in textile collections to determine the magnitude of the problem, and seeks to identify any common factors, properties, and conditions that can be associated with the phenomenon in a textile context. While the plenitude of paper conservation research is a tremendous resource for textile conservators, it remains to be determined what correlations can and cannot be made between ‘foxing' on paper and ‘foxing' on textiles. Rather than endeavor to identify overall causes of ‘foxing' on textiles, the second part of this project explores different characterization methods that offer a better understanding of the active conservation issues present on affected textiles. Techniques often used in the characterization of ‘foxing' include UV fluorescence photography and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry. Using a case study of a ‘foxed' textile from the Canadian Conservation Institute study collection, this project compares these established methods to more accessible, affordable, and targeted characterization techniques such as bathophenanthroline strip testing for active iron ions, pH testing, and ATP/AMP bioluminescence testing for the presence of microbiological activity. In shifting the focus from characterization techniques that attempt to identify cause towards those that assess active risk, the paper discusses methods of examination that should promote the development of simplified treatment strategies that target the specific stabilization needs of the textile in addition to those that tackle the aesthetic reduction of stains.

avatar for Sophia Zweifel

Sophia Zweifel

Isabel Bader Fellow in Textile Conservation and Research, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University
Sophia Zweifel (MAC 2015) holds a BA and MA in Art History from the University of British Columbia and University College London (UCL). Sophia completed the Master of Art Conservation program at Queen’s University, specializing in the conservation of objects. She has performed pre-program... Read More →

Tuesday May 30, 2017 3:00pm - 3:30pm CDT
Crystal Ballroom C Lobby Level, West Tower