The conservation of a wide range of textile objects can be undertaken at the studio. These include smaller scale projects such as embroideries and samplers, to larger objects including bed hangings, upholstery, flags, and banners. Emma is a leading specialist in the conservation of tapestries and historic house textiles and furnishings, with a sound understanding of the issues associated with the open display of textiles in often less than ideal environments. In situations where the textile cannot be brought to the studio, work on site is arranged. Documentation, including photographs, is kept to record all stages of work. Advice will also be offered to clients about the best ways in which textiles can be protected in the environment to which they will return following treatment.
Each textile is assessed and treated according to its needs, environment, and the wishes of the client. Emma prides herself on taking a pragmatic view of treatment, always approaching the work with a ‘light touch’ and keeping intervention to a minimum wherever possible.
Treatment of textiles with pest infestations using freezing can be offered but is carried out off-site, and large items can be accommodated. Emma often works in collaboration with specialists from other disciplines where necessary, including paper, furniture, and leather conservators.
Initial advice is offered free of charge for objects brought to the studio.
Surveys of collections or of individual, complex objects are often the starting point for a project. A survey will determine the condition and stability of the textiles, priorities for conservation, the urgency of the need for conservation, and outline budget requirements. They can also identify environmental and pest problems, for which advice and recommendations can be offered. Advice on the care and preservation of textiles, display options and storage are routinely included in illustrated survey reports.
Surveys of collections have recently been carried out for the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea; the University of Birmingham; Kelmscott Manor; Blenheim Palace tapestry collection, Powis Castle (National Trust).
Consultancy and research
Emma offers a client-focused consultancy service based on surveys, site visits and investigations, including full specifications, conservation reports, recommendations, and pest management. She is regularly responsible for the development phase of projects including budget planning, initial reports, and applications for grant funding. Together with the conservation provision and advice on storage/display requirements, a fully integrated service can be offered. In depth textile research projects are also undertaken, most recently the study of Welsh textiles and costume on dolls, on behalf of The Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagans and the University of Cardiff. The study included weave analysis, fibre identification, and full recording of all garment details, from collections across the UK including the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Museum of London.
Education, outreach, and training
Interpretation and education are important elements of our work as conservators, particularly at historic sites open to the public and at museums. Emma supports on-site training, outreach work and positive engagement with the public, frequently carrying out on-site work in front of visitors at National Trust properties and other venues, giving talks to the public and volunteers. Tailor-made on-site ‘care of collections’ training sessions can be provided for volunteers and property staff.
Emma also offers work placements for students, studio visits and bespoke workshops. Please contact the studio to enquire about these.