Hope all of you had a good Easter!
Now is time to show you one of the most interesting process in paper conservation, the washing treatment. But, can we wash a sheet of paper once it is already made?? Yes, we can. Before washing we have to keep in mind how the art work was made, such as the stability of the ink, damage to the paper, etc. I need to test EVERYTHING to make sure I don’t wash it all away!
We only do the washing if the paper need it. In the lithograph prints we found some dirt, tears, folds, creases, stains and foxing*. Washing them would remove the dirt, some stains and foxing and at the same time would re-forms the hydrogen bonds between the fibres, reinforcing the paper strength and improving the appearance too.
After this process, we deacidified the prints to neutralize the acidity in the paper with an alkaline solution. The alkali reserve will remain in the paper, ready to act against future acidification.
*Foxing: reddish-brown spots (the colour of a fox) over the surface of the paper which can be caused by a mold activity or a chemical reaction due to metal impurities in the paper.