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Damaged Embroidery Conservation

In 2001 the Resonances of Inspiration embroidered wall hanging was unveiled in the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre in Penrith City Centre. The embroidery, which was designed by Pamela Griffith and completed by thirty-three volunteers, has three separate components signifying different components of creativity; the top panel representing place, the sails representing people, and the bottom panel representing instruments. After 16 years, the embroidery was taken down for conservation treatment by Heights Heritage Conservation.

Top panel - before pictures above, after pictures below.

The top panel was a large embroidery depicting a landscape. It had extensive colour fading and deterioration due to light damage, especially to the Thai silk hills. The embroidery was surface cleaned to remove dust and spot cleaned to reduce stains. The faded and fragmented silk were covered with new silks and the artwork was treated with Microseal to protect against fading.

The bottom panel was comprised of royal blue Thai silk background with various musical instruments worked in gold and silver embroidery and appliqued on to the background. There was extreme colour fading and deterioration of the backing silk due to light damage·so each of the musical instruments was cut from the original backing were restitched to a new background fabric.

Bottom Panel - Before, during and after treatment.

The five large sail clothes each depicting a performer were cleaned to remove staining. The embroideries were also prepared for hanging by attaching velcro.

Once the treatment was completed, Heights Heritage coordinated the installation at the new site. A modular timber frame with Velcro attached was constructed to fit rounded wall. The embroideries were then hung from that. The banners were also attached via tension cables above the work on the wall and ceiling and to the gap between the two mounted embroideries.


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