This week we resurrected a Bride of Frankenstein pressbook for our client John Ulakovic. The book came to us in pieces. The front and back covers had been separated and had several tears, creases, and ragged edges. Our job was to strengthen and fortify the covers, bind them in a book-like fashion, and restore any distracting damage in the cover art.
Which is far more complicated than it may sound.
|The fronts. Here you can see creases in the paper. With thick card like this the creases are always very stubborn so extra care will have to be taken to burnish them without destroying the surface texture.|
This will be done at the outset, then the covers will be bound, then it will be done again to completely flatten and re-strengthen the piece, and to allow it to be restored while mounted in order to avoid rippling.
|After Derry has rinsed the paper with water and applied a cleansing agent, she places mylar (clear plastic) over it, so the piece is protected on both sides...|
|...flips it over...|
|...and squeegees it.|
|The creases are burnished.|
|Tissue is applied to stiffen the backs of the creases and the tears and along the edges where there is missing paper.|
|Here the poster has been mounted but is still wet. There's that previous restoration gleaming in the light. We're hoping to smooth out the ridges that make it so obvious.|
|The next morning John and Melissa|
removed the covers from the board and had a lengthy brainstorm on how best to proceed.
|John and Melissa removing the hollytex from the back.|
|Trimming excess tissue from the margins. This is in preparation for what's called a stub-in, when the front and back covers are joined.|
|Melissa experimenting with different candidates for the binding. Here she's sanding the edges of the strip so that it will blend seamlessly with the surrounding paper.|
|John brings in a piece of chiffon-like fabric. Melissa looks amused at the idea of a bridal veil (for the Bride of Frankenstein. Haha. Sorry. Thank you.)|
|"Maybe if we..."|
|They experiment using two small squares of card. Melissa is ironing a piece of heat press tissue onto the fold.|
|They come up with a plan of action and proceed with the binding. Here Melissa is painting glue onto the tissue while John holds protective paper over the areas we don't want glopped up.|
|John carefully abuts the two pieces.|
|Melissa irons the seam flat.|
|A piece of plexiglass is laid over the seam and specialized Vintage Poster Restoration Weights are placed on top. Now we intensely stare at it for a bit and leave it to dry overnight.|
|The next day John folds the covers. He holds a plexiglass strip in line with the seam to make sure he gets a straight fold.|
|Now it's time for Melissa to take on the front side of the seam. She cuts a very narrow strip of heat press tissue and delicately fits it into the narrow gulley between the two halves.|
|The piece is folded again and a slightly larger piece of tissue is creased lengthwise down the middle and glued over the edge. This smooths out the fold even more, and ensures it will not bust open the next time the book is folded.|
|Iron iron iron. We like flatness.|
|The pressbook is humidified in its chamber. John meditates.|
|Here Melissa is doing prep work, filling in all the missing paper with a combination of collage and filling compound, and of course burnishing, burnishing, burnishing, a little ironing and then some more burnishing.|
|The prep is finished and it's time to restore! Melissa commences while John performs the sacred Good Fortune in Restoration ceremonial dance. (I'm kidding of course. Fortune has nothing to do with it. Melissa is just really really good.)|
|Restoration in progress. You can see the blue on the right is done, and the gold is almost there.|
|Once Melissa has restored all the cracks and fold lines, she airbrushes it with a fine spray of gloss medium. The airbrush allows her to target the problem areas precisely, whereas a spray-can has far less control.|
|Re-folding the book. It's inevitable that a bit more restoration will have to be done to the fold after this step.|
|Finishing touches, and a bonus War of the Worlds.|
|Go team! Working with a three-dimensional object like a book can be a new sort of thing when one is accustomed to flat, static surfaces. But hey. New is good.|
BY THE WAY: You may notice my voice sounds a little different this week. That's because I'm Katie! Derry will soon be leaving us to attend grad school at The University of Oregon, so I'll be writing the blog from now on. I have some big shoes to fill--Derry started this blog herself and she is responsible for the whole direction and theme of it. All I can promise you is that I'm going to love writing it.
I've been restoring vintage posters and works on paper since 2002 and I've been here at Poster Mountain since 2010. I have a bachelor's degree in sculpture from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. My main job here is "detailing," which involves fixing cosmetic issues on a piece, whether by airbrushing or using watercolors on minute fold lines and tears. I also make art in my free time, which you can see here.