Christina McLean, an intern with our paintings conservators last summer, has been applying the skills she learned at our lab to conservation projects and demonstrations at Queens University. As a second year paintings conservation student in the Master of Art Conservation program, she is also a teaching assistant for the first and second year paintings students. Christina demonstrated to the Master’s students a technique developed at our lab to adapt the “Heiber technique” to repair certain tears on painting canvasses. In addition, Christina and two of her peers, Camille Beaudoin and Aimee Hawker, have utilized a unique method of varnish removal to the cleaning of a mural by Kenneth Holmden. This technique, developed at our lab, involves use of a new absorbent conservation material called Tek-Wipe that is applied to the surface of a painting and, coupled with a solvent, desiccates the binder in the varnish and allows the crystallized varnish to be gently brushed away. Unfortunately, this method of varnish removal is only possible in certain circumstances, but it is nonetheless quite magical.
Good luck Christina, and our conservators wish you all the best!