Wallhanging before treatment.

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Wallhanging after treatment - cleaned and re-hung.

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Some of the cotton swabs and blotting paper used during cleaning.

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Wallhanging before treatment.

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Gulpen, N.L.

1980's Wallhanging

 04   /   2021

Made in 1980 by a local textile artist, this large applique wallhanging depicts the family it was made for; the children, pets, and village all feature in its imagery. It arrived in need of cleaning, the colours having become dulled with dust and dirt after having hung on open display for many years. The large variety of fabrics used in its making, together with the way that they were layered made it a challenge to clean; some of the fabrics (including the dark pink backing fabric) were not colour fast, so immersive wet cleaning was ruled out due to the high risk of dye bleed. The objective was to visually brighten the overall look of the piece, as well as to remove excessive soiling to avoid it becoming ingrained into the fabric more than it already was. 

 

A combination of surface cleaning and localised spot cleaning was decided on as the safest and most effective approach, focussing particularly on the paler coloured fabrics. The outcome was reasonably good. Although not completely clean, the wallhanging was visibly brighter in colour, and the stiffness and slightly greasy handle of the textile was significantly reduced. 

As part of this treatment, the wallhanging was also re-hung. It had previously been nailed and glued to a wooden baton, but this was causing damage to the textile. The glue and nails were removed, the wood of the baton was isolated from the textile, and a strip of velcro was used to safely attach the hanging to the baton. 

For the final step of treatment, to address the distortion and creasing in the front of the wallhanging the lower edge of the lining was released and and re-stitched with the appropriate amount of ease. A properly sized lining can lend support and protection to the main textile, if attached properly. After these adjustments, the wallhanging was able to lay much flatter, without areas of slack and strain.