Friday, September 22, 2017

Last Gasp of Summer

Since Fall is quickly approaching, but I'm not quite ready to let go of Summer I thought we'd do a very summery post.


This large scale vintage advertisement measured about 5 1/2 by 2 1/2 feet and had been stored folded for a number of years. All of the edges had been folded back probably because when it was displayed in the early-mid-20th century it was wrapped around a piece of metal. (Side note, if you want to go down the history rabbit hole, there is a fascinating story about the legal battle between Good Humor and Popsicle which you can read here: The Cold War Between Good Humor and Popsicle.)

We began, as we usually do, by washing the piece.



We have large melamine boards for larger scale objects like this and have learned that it's easier to put these boards on our conservation tables and work directly on top of them. The light and angle in this photo give a good idea of the two fold lines and if you look closely you can see the edges that were are at this point still folded back.


This was printed on very thick paper and then treated to make it weather resistant, which also made it tough to smooth out the warping, but we gently massaged it flat. We use pieces of mylar to flip the piece over, as well as to squeegee it flat and to work fold lines and creases so they are flatter.  


People are generally shocked that we wash paper. What usually shocks me, even after working at Poster Mountain for more than five years, is how much dirt can build up in paper over time.


The photo above also gives you a good image of where the edges were folded and how dirty those fold lines had gotten over time. 

This advertisement was printed on thick paper and was in pretty good shape all things considered. So we made the decision to use our gelatin flattening treatment and leave the piece unbacked. We reinforced all the fold lines with strips of Japanese tissue to give them some extra stability and then applied an aqueous gelatin solution to the back, put a large piece of hollytex on top of that and then applied more gelatin.  




We then flipped the hollytex and ad sandwich (or would that be an open faced sandwich?) over so that the hollytex acted as a substrate between the ad and the board. We squeeged the advertisement through a mylar sheet to make sure it was completely flat and there were no air bubbles. Then we let it dry for a few days while temporarily mounted to the melamine board.


And voila! Flat and with the edge unfolded! 



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 daily photos and updates check out Poster Mountain's Twitter and Instagram: follow us on Twitter @postermount and Poster Mountain on Instagram. 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 19, 2017

Women Love Diamonds! Episode 4

This is the final post in our longest running blog project. I intended to finish months ago, and then the computer and I got into a fight. I lost patience and am only now returning to finish off telling you about this incredible project! Since we have been chronicling the conservation and restoration of this 1927 silent movie poster for more than two years, I want to give you a brief overview of where we started and how far we've come before I reveal the end result.

This poster literally started in pieces. Our first two blog posts give a complete description of what we went through to put it back together: Episode 1 and Episode 2

Back to the very beginning... 
Figuring out what we actually had to work with and realizing we were missing the entire middle.

 After a whole lot of work, the poster was finally linen backed and restoration began.

Our proud fearless leader! 

 Episode 3 goes into more depth about the process that Ravi went through to find a reference and draw in her dress.

This is where we ended Episode 3

 The dress was a challenge for Ravi, who at the time had just joined the Poster Mountain restoration team. What came next was a labor of love.

Progress photo was taken after Ravi had finished the dress.

After the dress, the major hurdle was the background pattern which had to be drawn in by hand and then masked over so that we could airbrush the dark blue background. 

Close up of the background pattern.

Fortunately for Ravi, the pattern was relatively "easy" to replicate since he could use the extant pattern on the rest of the poster, but it was time-consuming and eye-straining! Since this was a project just for us and not a client, Ravi worked on it when he needed an in-between project. Every time I went over to photograph this poster he had a little more done and slowly the full background pattern emerged.

Captions and pattern before airbrushing.



Post airbrushing background color.

He had to go over the pattern a second time in order to mask it for airbrushing the background color and then a third time to remove the liquid miskit he used to mask off the pattern. And then a fourth and fifth time when he went through the same process to airbrush the pattern itself. Ravi and I counted and all in all I think he went over this pattern about six times.

Removing the miskit that had masked the pattern.


Airbrushing in the light blue of the pattern itself.

Once the dress and the background pattern were in place there were only a few details left. The title and other credits were locally airbrushed where necessary and the border was airbrushed so that it was a uniform color.

We airbrushed in and did some retouching by hand to finish off the last of the damaged areas of this poster. 

This is the last progress photo that I took before we removed the last mask and revealed this poster in all her glory:


The big reveal: 


As I mentioned previously this poster was a labor of love. It wasn't for a client, it was for us and we now get to enjoy it every day since John had it framed and hung in our studio. You're welcome to come by and see her in person! (Although Crystal would appreciate it if you would call and let her know first and the rest of the team would appreciate it if you brought us another cool project!) 

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 daily photos and updates check out Poster Mountain's Twitter and Instagram: follow us on Twitter @postermount and Poster Mountain on Instagram. Our subsidiary company, LA Paper Group will be showcasing the fine art side of the company: @LAPaperGroup on Twitter and LAPaperGroup on Instagram.

Friday, March 10, 2017

A Germane Germain Poster

Ok, forgive the terrible pun/homonym joke for the title. It made me laugh. Anyway, this week's post is about a 16-sheet magic poster for one of our favorite clients. The poster had been previously backed on craft paper and this backing was starting to come apart, so we re-lined it.

Re-lining means removing the old lining before we adhere the poster to a new lining. One thing to note is that paper loss while removing an old lining is an unavoidable part of the process. We take steps to minimize the amount lost, but it is still something that we consider and discuss with clients each time we take on a demount project like this. The old lining on this poster came off with relative ease and minimal paper loss, although there were still visible losses. The pieces were left to dry while the team began the process of stretching the linen and gluing the masa to that linen for the new backing.







When we re-line large format posters like this we build a frame on the largest wall of our studio and then stretch linen across it, just like we do with our smaller frames. However, the scale of watching a piece like this come together is always impressive.



Once the linen has been stretched, we then spread glue across it and adhere large pieces of masa paper to create a substrate on which the poster will then be glued.


After there is enough masa to cover the area we need, the real fun starts. John and Robin spend time organizing the pieces of the poster into the precise order in which they need to be mounted. This lets them work in tandem to have each new piece ready one after the other. Each piece was washed, rinsed and then glued on our capillary tables before being carried over to the lining.


At this point in the process the piece is being manipulated while it is held in tension on a piece of mylar. It has glue on the back and John is positioning it before he uses a squeegee to evenly adhere it to the masa substrate. Once that is done, the mylar is then peeled away, leaving the section on the backing.

Another thing to note is that when we do these large scale pieces it involves a lot of climbing. Onto tables, up ladders and stools - it's a lot of work. Fortunately, John does most of the climbing while the rest of us assist him.



From here I'm mainly going to let the pictures do the talking because this piece comes together so well visually. As each new section was added we took a photo:











From the last photo you can see that there was some paper loss, but reasonably minimal for the size, age and condition of the poster. Restoration was performed in those areas using our usual methods.

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 daily photos and updates check out Poster Mountain's Twitter and Instagram: follow us on Twitter @postermount and Poster Mountain on Instagram. Our subsidiary company, LA Paper Group will be showcasing the fine art side of the company: @LAPaperGroup on Twitter and LAPaperGroup on Instagram.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Renault Restoration (Part 2)

This is the second part of a post we put up a while ago: Renault Restoration (Part 1). Since it has been a while, let me remind you what this Renault poster looked like after it had been linen backed and before any restoration was done.

Sorry for the weird shift in colors! The photo above was taken in out photography room and the others are all taken in the restoration department, which has very different lighting.
Previously, Gabe used a reference to draw the lines of the automobile and the train behind it. The first color shot was the red of the body of the automobile.


The next steps were to paint the gray train and then the black of the cabin interior and the shadows of the automobile. (Is this a car or a truck? Being a woman who does not have a lot of car, or history of cars, knowledge, I'm just going to keep calling it an automobile. Look, I have a lot of knowledge about a lot of things, cars just aren't one. Let's talk about books sometime, ok?) Anway, back to what you're actually here for:

This is the photo of the mask for the black of the cabin interior. 
 After airbrushing the black cabin interior, Gabe and the team then painted the yellow background. They were so quick that I don't have masking photos before the yellow was painted. So here's an after shot of the yellow background:


The last major area to be airbrushed was the paper color. In prep, we try to get as close to the original paper color and/or texture. Sometimes we have to make a decision whether paper color or texture is a better fit, but we had some paper that was a pretty good match for both. This makes airbrushing easier because the amount of paint that has to be used is significantly less.

Almost there! Just a few more areas to restore! 
Finally, just some small areas remained!

Gabe painting in a highlight on the edge of the automobile. 

Here is the final! (Again, sorry for the weird color shift.) From a missing chunk to a complete 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 daily photos and updates check out Poster Mountain's Twitter and Instagram: follow us on Twitter @postermount and Poster Mountain on Instagram. Our subsidiary company, LA Paper Group will be showcasing the fine art side of the company: @LAPaperGroup on Twitter and LAPaperGroup on Instagram.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Renault Restoration (Part 1)

This week's blog is the first of two covering the restoration of a 1928 Renault poster.


I wanted to focus on the process it takes for us to restore images where large sections are missing when I realized I hadn't ever done an automobile poster before, so two birds with one stone! 

After linen backing this piece, we did the prep work. I found paper that was almost a perfect match but wasn't quite the right dimensions for the largest hole. So, I did what I call a Frankenstein patch and used two patches from the same paper for the large hole. 

Two patches from the same paper, cobbled together to make one big patch! 


The patch for the missing corner.
Gabe took over after the prep work was finished. For works such as this, where we do have a reference, he starts by taking the measurements of the poster and then printing out the reference scaled to size.


From there he begins to sketch in the lines that we need and to determine how many different colors and patterns we will need to restore. This restoration project is one of the simpler ones and will require 6 different colors to be airbrushed in. 


 Once Gabe had the image drawn, he cut the mask for the red of the truck.


Aaron then matched the color and painted in the areas that needed to be the lovely bright red.



 The next post on this poster will have photos of the progress each time we add a new mask/color.

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 daily photos and updates check out Poster Mountain's Twitter and Instagram: follow us on Twitter @postermount and Poster Mountain on Instagram. Our subsidiary company, LA Paper Group will be showcasing the fine art side of the company: @LAPaperGroup on Twitter and LAPaperGroup on Instagram.