The conservation strand of our project combined both practice, research and training.
Misa Tamura, our Research Conservator, led a strand of the project that included major re-housing of the objects in the Hunterian and Kew collections, making them safe for long-term storage and enabling access by researchers. Conservation treatment of the objects was also carried out where there was significant damage that would have affected their long-term stability. This strand reflected the origins of the project in conservation work carried out by students of the Centre for Textile Conservation and Technical Art History on tapa from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and The Hunterian, Glasgow. It was informed by conservation carried out at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.
Working with conservation students
The project presented a major opportunity for students on the MPhil Textile Conservation programme at the University of Glasgow to become familiar with the conservation of tapa. We are extremely grateful to the students who volunteered to work with the Research Conservator and played a valuable role in the re-housing, treatment and engagement activities.
Research into the conservation of barkcloth also identified solutions to particular problems, such as methods of cold-dyeing Japanese paper to use as an unobtrusive support for damaged areas, research into the use of appropriate adhesives for applying support to oiled barkcloth and the use of remoistenable tissue coated with starch paste for adhesive support.