The second year of the WUDPAC program has given me separation anxiety. Not because I’m homesick or because I’m nervous about leaving Delaware at the end of this year , but because I rarely get to spend time with my classmates who have chosen to specialize in a different area of conservation. During the first year of the program, all ten members of our class spent at least ten hours a day together at least ten days a week. For good or for bad, we were inseparable.
This year, we have all moved on to separate labs–I’m lucky enough to be one of five people majoring in the conservation of objects and artifacts, so I still get to work with Becky, Jen, Marlene, and Vicky on a daily basis. But, our schedules for independent study, seminars on topics within our major, and treatment project are different than those of our classmates in other labs. And I have to say, I really miss those ladies!
This week, in the spirit of the holiday season, we had the opportunity to have two mini-reunuions. The first came in the form of our annual “Yankee” Christmas (aka white elephant) gift exchange. This $10-limit dazzler did not disappoint, and people walked away with gifts such as plastic mustaches, a mouse figurine made of iron, and zebra striped water bottle. I myself ended up with a bedazzled IPhone cover (which I have to admit that I secretly like). Check it out:
As you can see, it was a pretty excellent event.
The second reunion came in the form of a seminar on mist consolidation (taught by Julie Ream), which is a technique used by objects, paintings, paper, photo, and textile conservators alike. It’s essentially a process in which a dilute adhesive is applied as a mist to a very sensitive or friable surface (typically painted). The adhesive serves to provide some stability on the surface and to prevent significant loss of the decoration. It’s applied as a mist to minimize color change and tidelines, two phenomena that can occur when you apply adhesive to a surface. As part of the workshop, we got to compare and contrast the working properties different ultrasonic and pneumatic misters. Below is a photo of me working with a pneumatic mister to apply .5% Aquazol 500 to the painted surface of a feather. For personal safety reasons, respirators were worn by everyone throughout the workshop.
Overall, it was a great seminar that proved to be very informative. Not to mention that it was a chance for us to reunite as a class before the holidays. Speaking of which, we wish you all the best during this holiday season and hope that you have many reunions of your own!