Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mending the Rabbit Geisha with a Weave (and Water)



I have been rather busy (i.e., no stitching H-Q rows of the May stitch on Glittering Kimono) with the Rabbit Geisha's burned places.  Yesterday I showed you the patched areas.  Look back at the very last photo in yesterday's blog entry and you will see that there is a distinct dip in the burn hole area, with the scorched canvas well above the patch on the back side. Any stitches put on top of this are likely to have a dimple in them because there is a hole.  So I used another technique to handle this problem--weaving.


Patching is not the only way to mend canvas.  You can also pull away a thread from the edge of your canvas and weave it across the area.  In the photo above you'll see that I have done this.  I used a #20 needle so that the loose canvas thread would go through the eye and wove the thread to build up support.  I also started my background stitch over the burned corner area, just to see how it would work up.  First, I did two rows of basketweave outside the painted canvas area.  This stabilizes the patches a bit more and also will be useful in finishing.   However, another problem cropped up as I worked.


Look very carefully at this close up of the same photo.  See where the burned NP canvas threads broke as I stitched through them?  This is one reason I put the patches on the back.  I had no idea how stable the scorched canvas would be.  Before I did any more stitching, I grabbed my plant mister and sprayed the canvas.  (The thread I am using for my background stitches is DMC #794 and since most DMC colors are pretty stable--except for red and very very dark colors like navy and chocolate--I risked the color running.)  Once the burned canvas and the patch were damp and more flexible, I continued stitching the background over the burned corner.  The more flexible damp canvas (I didn't get it really wet, just flexible) took the stitches better and this morning when the spot is dry I don't see any more broken stitches.  There might be some under the stitching and the patch, though.


This photo shows what the corner looks like stitched.  Note that some of the brown burn shows between the stitches.  Someone asked (Was that you, Nancy?) in the Comments if I planned to repaint the burned area.  The answer is no.  I have no idea how burned canvas will take to paint or a marker so I won't risk that.  We'll see how prominent the burned areas are after stitching.  I may scatter beads on top to distract the eyes (beads hide a LOT of sins!) or maybe the finisher will use trim or something similar to hide this.  We'll worry about it later.  The first step is to get the background stitches in successfully.


The final photograph also shows that I pulled out my woven canvas thread and restitched it vertically instead of horizontally to better support my horizontal stitches.  I made sure to dampen this area and to soak the thread I was going to weave with to make it very flexible.  I also added another row of tent stitches around the outside as I realized that I had miscounted the background.  I didn't want to compensate.  Besides, three rows of tent stitches are probably better for the patched areas as that is where the finishing stitches will go.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com
Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow

6 comments:

  1. While I do not expect to have any burned canvases, I am appreciative of seeing how you handled this.......I did not know about slightly dampening the canvas.......always love to learn.

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  2. Dampening the canvas seems to have done what I wanted and kept the burned canvas supple enough to stitch and it dried without harm, so it worked.

    There are other ways of patching. If I'd had some 18 count silk gauze I think I would have laid that on top of the canvas and stitched through it. With a patch of regular 18 count canvas on the back side this would have kept me from weaving a thread. But I didn't think of it and I don't have any 18 count silk gauze, either. Still, it is a technique we should keep in mind as I think it will work.

    Any conservators here? Or anyone who has repaired NP canvas commercially?

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  3. Dampening the canvas seems to have done what I wanted and kept the burned canvas supple enough to stitch and it dried without harm, so it worked.

    There are other ways of patching. If I'd had some 18 count silk gauze I think I would have laid that on top of the canvas and stitched through it. With a patch of regular 18 count canvas on the back side this would have kept me from weaving a thread. But I didn't think of it and I don't have any 18 count silk gauze, either. Still, it is a technique we should keep in mind as I think it will work.

    Any conservators here? Or anyone who has repaired NP canvas commercially?

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  4. I missed your post yesterday and just read about all this. What a tragedy! Well, we all know what should be done to the vandals..... You are doing an amazing job with the repair, and it is so good of you to post the process. I have used both techniques in the past and both work very well. I've never had a burned canvas (you may be the first!) but I have accidentally cut my canvas & had to repair it. Good job!

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  5. I really admire how you've turned this violent act into a great lesson for everyone Jane! Great work!

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  6. Thanks, Ker. If anyone knows how to turn a negative into a positive, it is you however. Hope you are feeling great and enjoying life.

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