Fiber Identification workshop at IPCH

Debora Mayer (Harvard University), Marie-France Lemay (SML), and Soyeon Choi (YCBA) look at fibers under the stereomicroscope
April 15, 2015

IPCH hosted, in collaboration with the Yale University Art Gallery (YUAG), a three-day Fiber Identification Workshop for seven conservators and conservation scientists from various cultural heritage institutions within Yale University. Erin Mysak of IPCH and Marie-France Lemay, Paper Conservator for the Yale University Libraries, organized the training event. A guest scholar, Debora Mayer, head of the Paper Conservation Laboratory at the Weissman Preservation Center, Harvard Library, Harvard University, organized lectures, demonstrations and laboratory exercises on natural and man-made fiber identification using polarized light microscopy. Several items from the Yale’s collection received special attention during the workshop: a 19th century American manuscript by Robert Reed, The Life and Adventures of a Haunted Convict, or the Inmate of a Gloomy Prison, from the Beinecke Library, and a 3rd century CE Roman painted shield from YUAG’s Dura-Europos collection, a Homeric Shield. The painted wooden shield has areas of plain weave textile as well as fibers in the preparation layers. Bast fibers were identified in the Roman shield.

Research on both of these objects is ongoing.