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Wednesday, May 31 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
032. (Objects) Treatment of a Shattered Bark Basket from Australia

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This poster focuses on the characterization and treatment of an Australian bark basket, and the fabrication of an internal structural support deemed necessary for safe housing. Bark is a material used in the production of composite objects, including painted and framed whole bark baskets, pounded and painted inner bark (i.e., bark cloth), and paintings on sections of whole bark. The most comprehensive published studies relate to the care and treatment of bark cloth and paintings on flattened bark, while a dearth of information exists regarding the treatment of three-dimensional objects made from bark. An Australian Aboriginal bark basket deaccessioned from a local museum was donated to the UCLA/Getty Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials Program. The basket arrived with a broken rim and detached sections, as well as with areas of delamination and splitting in the bark sheet. The extreme warping distortions were causing bark fragments to curl up along the edges and shift out of plane. Treatment of this bark basket required previously unreported steps for humidification and consolidation. Areas of delaminated bark were consolidated and cracks were adhered with Paraloid™ B-72 in acetone. Different local humidification methods were employed to restore the bark bag to its original shape. Following testing, repairs to hold the bark fragments together were made with toned tissue strips pasted with a mixture of 1:1 Lascaux 360 HV:Lascaux 498 HV acrylic dispersion adhesives. The fragility of the thin bark sheet and the tension required to return the distorted basket back to its original elliptical shape served as two opposing factors that created challenges towards the steps taken in the realignment treatment. Weight could not be applied safely in several locations, most notably the sides. For these tenuous locations, clips and rare-earth magnets were used to provide the force required for the humidified bark to flatten and for mended repair areas to cure. To combat environmental distortions, various flexible materials such as Volara™, Ethafoam™ sheet, silicon tape, Coban™ wrap, and Teflon™ tape were used to provide the tension force required to hold the desired shape of the basket. The last step in treatment involved fabrication of an internal structural support to safely house the bark basket with its fragments and maintain its overall elliptical shape.

avatar for Marci Jefcoat Burton

Marci Jefcoat Burton

Engen Conservation Fellow, National Air and Space Museum
Marci Jefcoat Burton is currently an Engen Conservation Fellow at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM), Smithsonian Institution. In 2018, she graduated with an MA in Conservation from the UCLA/Getty Conservation of Archeological and Ethnographic Materials program, after completing... Read More →

Wednesday May 31, 2017 3:30pm - 4:00pm CDT
Riverside West Exhibit Hall Exhibit Level, East Tower
  9. Poster, Objects