Wednesday, October 30, 2013

King Blackstone, Chapter the Second

This is the second installment of the Blackstone magician's poster project. You can get up to speed by reading the first installment here.

We left off at John's rehearsal--the gelatin facing of two sections of scrap poster, similar to the Blackstone. He did this in order to experiment without ruining the actual poster. The two practice sections are gelatin mounted face-down to a board.

The next step will be to attach a thin tissue backing to the scraps using PVA. Normally we wouldn't use PVA because it's irreversible, but this poster is an extreme situation; absolutely on its last leg and this will be the last time it is demounted and restored.

 John sands the backs in order to smooth out any ridges.

The tissue backing is trimmed to size.

John has laid the tissue over the back of the first sample, and is painting PVA glue on top of it.

This method proved too agitating for the tissue, which wadded itself up into a soggy mountainous paperscape*. He mists it with water in an attempt to smooth out the wads.
*November's coupon code is "mountainous paperscape." It really is. That's what you have to say.
Hmmm, no.

On the second try John applies the PVA directly to the back of the poster.

He sprays water to dilute the glue, then spreads it evenly over the poster with a squeegee.

John then lays the tissue flat over the sticky surface...

...and very carefully pats it down.

The tissue backings are left to dry, and then John sands the bumps and ridges.

The sample poster sections are peeled off the boards.

John trims the hollytex and tissue to the poster edges.

John peels the hollytex off the fronts.

 He fits the two pieces together. Now it's time to test their tissue backings for water solubility.

John sprays the front and back of the piece with water.

He applies paste with a brush in keeping with our usual linen backing method.

The paste is spread even with a roller.

John adds a layer of hollytex to the back, squeegees the piece to a board, and removes the protective mylar covering. Everything seems to have gone well. The tissue/PVA backing didn't budge, which indicates there will not be a problem with all the smaller bits drifting or coming apart when we linen back the Blackstone poster.

Here's where things start to get repetitive. John now has to do a whole lot of work that we talked about in the last blog post. I've condensed the photos and the explanations so we don't have to sit through it all over again.

The poster has been divided up into sections, each one composed of a dozen or so smaller pieces. These are then carefully fitted together and given a gelatin facing.

The sections are left to dry, John gives them a light sanding, and applies PVA glue.

He sprays water over the glue...

...and spreads the glue using a squeegee.

He then gets hold of the playful floaty tissue...

...and lays it over the sticky surface.

The tissue-backed sections are then left to dry and removed from the board. Before the hollytex is peeled off, John lays the sections out on the light table to make sure they'll fit together.

There is some trouble in the dark area of Blackstone's jacket, but this can be fixed during the prep stage. Here the hollytex has been peeled off and the poster is ready for linen backing.

John now has to use the water/mylar/squeegee process to fit all the sections together perfectly.

Note his expression. This is the culmination of weeks of work for John, very satisfying.

He holds the squeegee up to the edge to make sure everything's lined up straight.

The few smaller remaining bits are put in.

John flips the whole thing over and squeegees the excess water.

He lines it up carefully on the canvas and paper screen.

He squeegees out the air bubbles...


Presto!! Linen backed and in one piece!!

The next step is prep, which will involve filling all the holes and gaps with paper and filling compound in order to make an even surface for restoration. While this process will be labor intensive, it should be relatively straightforward because the design is very simple, with large areas of color rather than tiny busy details. All this will be covered in the third and final chapter of the Saga of Blackstone.