Friday, May 20, 2016

Cacao... Coco... Chocolate! (Part 2)

Part 1 of this series finished with the old backing being removed from an early 20th Century French Cacao poster. After taking the backing off we washed the poster again to try to remove as much of the leftover adhesive as possible. Then it was again put through the isinglass gelatin process and left to dry face down on a board overnight.   

John and Ravi moving the large and heavy melamine board over to the shelves so it can dry overnight. 

There was still a thin layer of adhesive remaining on the back of the poster. John used a fine grit sand paper to remove this last layer of glue.

John checking and sanding down any uneveness leftover from the remaining adhesive.


Next, the poster was removed from the board with the hollytex facing still on the front. The poster was then washed one last time before glue was applied to the back and it was mounted to masa and linen.

John washing the poster and hollytex for a final time.

After applying glue to the back of the poster its time to linen back it so it will last another 100 years.

John and Robin linen backing the poster (while it still has the hollytex facing on). 

After the poster had dried for a few days we removed the facing.


The next step was prep. During the demounting process Robin and I saved a few of the larger pieces of the poster that came off along with the old backing. I was able to save some, but not all of these, and to put them back onto the poster where they belonged.

Bits and pieces of the poster that tore off during the demounting process. Some of them I was able to save, others were just too stuck.

In addition to the obvious holes, we were also adding borders back in. Putting borders back is one of my favorite prep projects, although it is time-consuming. Often when we are adding in borders we first have to determine if we have straight edges to base our measurements off of or if we need to use the image/printing to get the dimensions that the poster is supposed to be. Fortunately for this piece we did have relatively straight edges that we could use.


I traced out the borders, then began to look for paper that was similar in color, thickness, and style. However, one of the issues that we encountered with this poster was the poster paper itself. French commercial printing paper from the early 20th century is very thin. Think newsprint thin. So in the large areas, like the borders or the big hole in the globe, we used paper patches. However, other areas were so thin that paper patches weren't going to look good once restoration was started. We used a compound filler for these holes. It is white, so it is difficult to see in photos.

Tracing out the borders.


This is the pile of vintage paper that I thought might work and was sorting through to find the most appropriate.

This photo was taken after the borders were added back, but before the rest of the damage was filled.

After a few days of work, we had borders and all the cracks and holes were filled. Next week's post will be about the restoration of the poster.

A process photo after prep and before restoration.

Certain proprietary steps and procedures have been omitted. If you have any comments or ideas for things you would like to see us cover on our blog, please let us know! Additional questions regarding other work or your pieces, please contact us via email at postermount@aol.com or by phone 818.882.1214.

Also, check out our websites: http://www.postermountain.com and http://www.lapapergroup.com. Please feel free to leave comments or questions on the blog. For dail photos and updates check out Poser Mountain's Twitter and Instragra: follus us on Twitter @postermount and postermountain on Instragram. Our subsidiary company, LA Paper Group will be showcasing the fine art side of the company: @LAPaperGroup on Twitter and LAPaperGroup on Instagram.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Cacao... Coco... Chocolate! (Part 1)

Our next series of blog posts will feature the conservation and restoration of a vintage poster for one of  France's oldest chocolate brands: Le Cacao Poulain, which translates into English as the Chocolate Colt. (The icon of this company is usually a jumping colt  and appears to play off of  founder Victor-August Poulain's last name.) 

The vintage poster our client brought us dates from the late 19th century.  It was mounted to a foam core board and had some previous restoration. 

Before

Step 1 was to get the poster off the board or more accurately get the board off the poster. John and Jairo began by chipping away at the board, layer by layer. 



Once the board was off the poster there were still several additional layers to remove. The linen that the poster was on was also mounted to Chartex, which is a fabric lining applied with a heat activated wax-based adhesive. We first removed the Chartex, using a heat gun, iron and some will power.   



We then moved the poster over to our mounting tables, wet both the front and the back then applied a hollytex facing using our isinglass gelatin process. The facing would temporarily adhere to the front of the poster, keeping it relatively stable while we removed the linen from the back.





Watching John manipulate posters and art on our tables is one of the coolest things to see! 

This is a layer of hollytex, a gas permeable paper, that has been placed on the front of the poster to act as support while we demount it. 


Here John is applying the isinglass gelatin to the hollytex and allowing it to soak through to the poster.


After the facing was applied to the front the poster was flipped over so that the back was exposed. It was temporarily mounted to a large melamine board for increased stability.


The poster is now face down with the hollytex acting as a supporting layer between the poster and the melamine board.

We placed smaller sheets of hollytext on top so that the poster could "stew" for a while. Letting the poster sit allowed moisture to penetrate through the various layers and hopefully make it easier for us to take the final layer of the previous backing off. Turns out this was a big hope.

Smaller sheets of hollytext were applied so that we could work on parts of the poster while keep other parts damp. 


I have helped John and Robin demount a number of posters and fine art pieces. It is always a tough, time-consuming project no matter what. However, I don't think any of us have ever cursed so much as we did with this poster. The paper and ink were very fragile and the adhesive was very stubborn, so while we were able to save the vast majority of the poster we did lose some areas (paper and ink loss is always a risk with demounting posters).

After washing, gelatin treatment and then waiting, we tested this corner to see how easily the linen would come off.  
For most demount projects, particularly those that have been backed before conservation became more prevalent, we take the backing off in small strips. This allows us a certain amount of control and to find and handle problem areas. With this poster, there were problem areas all over the place!

We usually work from the middle out. The borders of a poster are usually the most fragile and benefit from extra time curing. 

Here Robin was able to remove most of this strip of linen in one long thin piece.



However, we handled it like the professionals we are.

We had the most trouble around the globe in the middle, but this was the last piece of the old backing! 

The poster after all the old (gross) linen was removed.


Next week's blog is about re-linen backing this poster!

Certain proprietary steps and procedures have been omitted. If you have any comments or ideas for things you would like to see us cover on our blog, please let us know! Additional questions regarding other work or your pieces, please contact us via email at postermount@aol.com or by phone 818.882.1214.

Also, check out our websites: http://www.postermountain.com and http://www.lapapergroup.com. Please feel free to leave comments or questions on the blog. For dail photos and updates check out Poser Mountain's Twitter and Instragra: follus us on Twitter @postermount and postermountain on Instragram. Our subsidiary company, LA Paper Group will be showcasing the fine art side of the company: @LAPaperGroup on Twitter and LAPaperGroup on Instagram.




















Friday, January 8, 2016

Grateful Dead

 Our first blog post of 2016 (where 2015 went I have no idea) is about a ca. 1978 Grateful Dead serigraph by the artist Stanely Mouse. (A short disclaimer: This serigraph was printed using gold metallic ink, which is incredibly hard to photograph so that it looks the same consistently so please keep that in mind when viewing our photos.)

This piece came to us for several different reasons. As you can see from the before photo there is some scuffing and dinging visible in the gold. On the back of the print there is also foxing, which is the general term used for certain types of oxidation in paper that causes red, rust like spots.


While I personally am not a Grateful Dead fan, I think this is a very elegant concert poster. It has an art deco feel to the lines and composition, with strong Egyptian influences mixed with the overtones of American Rock music from that era.

Additional photos from before conservation show that the poster was also curling a bit. A shot of the back also gives a better view of the foxing. 











John and I approached this conservation project with a little bit of trepidation, since the inks of serigraphs can sometimes be difficult and metallic paint adds in another  tricky factor. We fully expected some of the ink to flake away in the process, however, our caution  was unnecessary since we had no problems with either the ink or the paper during washing.



  There were numerous fingerprint smudges on the gold background, so we used a soft bristled brush to try and gently remove them. While we had some success they were still visible, although not as much as before.



After trying to manually lessen the fingerprints and scuff marks we then addressed the foxing on the back. This was done through a chemical rinse, that lightens all but the most stubborn foxing. Again, we got lucky and this foxing was not all that stubborn so the process made a huge difference. The final step in conservation was to put the print through our gelatin process to flatten it. After a few days curing on the board it was soft mounted to the print went to masking and airbrushing.

In masking Pete used a combination of low tack tape and miskit to cover the images in black ink so that we could airbrush the gold background to cover all the scuffs and scratches still visible. 



Aaron then applied a thin layer of gold metallic paint to cover all the wear and tear of 30+ years.


Unmasking is always one of my favorite parts of the restoration process to watch because it has always contained that magical feeling of unwrapping a present. Even when we consciously know what the print will look like, it is still incredibly cool to remove all the protective layers and see what a new coat of ink can do.


See what I mean? Like Christmas morning! 


There was some minor ink loss in the black that we also wanted to address. We used a combination of both airbrushing and hand detailing for the black areas. 





The photo below is another one of my favorites because it reminds me of how cool our jobs are. We spend most days getting to touch and restore pieces of art and history that people rarely see out of a frame. 


And the final outcome turned out beautifully!



Certain proprietary steps and procedures have been omitted. If you have any comments or ideas for things you would like to see us cover on our blog, please let us know! If you have further questions regarding other work or your pieces please contact us via email at postermount@aol.com or by phone at 818.882.1214. Also check out our websites: http://www.postermountain.com and http://www.lapapergroup.com/. Please feel free to leave comments or questions on the blog! For daily photos and updates check out Poster Mountain's Twitter and Instagram: follow us @postermount on Twitter and postermountain on Instagram. Our subsidiary company, Los Angeles Paper Group will be showcasing the fine art side of the company: @LAPaperGroup on Twitter and LAPaperGroup on Instagram.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Pinnacle Crate Label

We are doing our first ever Flashback Friday post! A few weeks ago I was looking through some of our old blog projects and found an unfinished blog about a fruit crate label. We used to do dozens of these and although the demand has slowed down they are still one of my favorite pieces of vintage advertising to work on.

 Crate labels are usually on very thin paper which were glued to the sides of the wooden crates that the fruit was shipped in, which explains why the corners are often missing, such as in the Pinnacle Brand label featured in this post.

Here's the Before photo

Despite missing all four corners this crate label was still in pretty good condition since the majority of the image was still there and we could tell what the missing text was supposed to say.

This project is from about two years ago (I know because it was before I chopped off most of my hair!)

Step one was to wash out any impurities and then put the label through our isinglass gelatin treatment so that it was temporarily mounted to a melamine board.

Even though the paper is very thin, you can still see that it has been partially skinned in this corner when it was removed.

During the gelatin treatment I applied tissue on each of the corners. The tissue patches will form the foundation for paper patches to be applied later.


Hollytex is used as the temporary substrate between the board and the crate label and is also applied during the gelatin process.




Once the label had dried we then began prep. We were fully restoring this label to its former glory and so needed to recreate all four corners. The very thin paper like that of crate labels can be difficult to work with, partially because it is so delicate and partially because it is difficult to find appropriate paper to patch with. After searching through all our boxes of vintage paper I finally found the right kind of paper.

This photo was taken during prep, but before the paper patches had been added in.

After measuring out and tracing the corners I shave down the edges of the the areas that I will be patching so that it is easier to create a smooth surface to later paint on. I then use tracing paper to trace the shape of the patches that I need to cut.

This was taken after prep was finished.

After gluing in the patches I then sand down the edges of the join so that they are smooth and perfectly flat. 



Once I'm done in prep the guys in masking and airbrushing go to work. 


Gabe began by finding a reference and tracing out in blue pencil the text that we would be adding in at the bottom. 


Then they used tape and craft paper to cover the areas that weren't being airbrushed. The first part that we painted was the border area. This involved layering several different colors to recreate the look of a stone-litho. 
This is one of my favorite photos from this post because it shows all the layers of color built up during the original stone litho process.

After the border, both the larger dark border and the thin blue line that traces the edge of the border and the mountains, was done then we painted the mint ice cream colored sky. 


In addition to airbrushing we also added in certain details by hand, like those in the sunkist sunburst in the top right corner and the text at the bottom. 


Looking at the after image I think you'd be hard pressed to point out the areas that were restored if you hadn't seen all the previous images.  



Certain proprietary steps and procedures have been omitted. If you have any comments or ideas for things you would like to see us cover on our blog, please let us know! If you have further questions regarding other work or your pieces please contact us via email at postermount@aol.com or by phone at 818.882.1214. Also check out our websites: http://www.postermountain.com and http://www.lapapergroup.com/. Please feel free to leave comments or questions on the blog! Also for daily photos and updates check out Poster Mountain's Twitter and Instagram: please follow us @postermount on Twitter and postermountain on Instagram. Our subsidiary company, Los Angeles Paper Group will be showcasing the fine art side of the company: @LAPaperGroup on Twitter and LAPaperGroup on Instagram.