Inside the Collection

Love Lace International Lace Award and exhibition: behind the scenes

Cotton and silk embroidery and smocking on Japanese gampi tissue girls bonnets and dresses
‘Cermony’ by Noelle Hamlyn, Gowns (6) and bonnets (6): cotton and silk embroidery and smocking on Japanese gampi tissue, 700 x 570 mm (largest). Image Powerhouse Museum

Much work has been going on in the Conservation department in preparation for the upcoming Love Lace International Lace Award and exhibition. There are some wonderful pieces in the exhibition and the variety of materials is amazing. Each object requires its own special display support. Rebecca Ellis has been making supports for some very delicate paper christening gowns and bonnets that will be suspended off the display wall. The artist, Noelle Hamlyn, has created the gowns out of Japanese gampi tissue and decorated them with cotton and silk embroidery.

Conservator Rebecca Ellis filing the stainless steel support rods in the Conservation Lab at the Powerhouse museum
Conservator Rebecca Ellis filing the stainless steel support rods
Support rods with their padding, laid out on the workshop table
The support rods with their padding, ready for hanging.

Ian Scott-Stevenson has made small, stainless steel hangers that will protrude from the display wall. Rebecca has covered the shoulder section of the hanger with dacron padding, covered in silk. This will protect the garment and give it extra support whilst it is on display. The bonnets will be displayed on moulded acrylic attached to a stainless steel rod.

A close-up of a very fragile sleeve of one of the christening gowns
A close-up of a very fragile sleeve of one of the christening gowns.

Gosia Dudek and Nadia McDougall have been working on another artwork called ‘One Echidna’ by Christine McMillan. The quills, which came from a road kill incident, have been made into a beautiful piece of art. Ian cut a piece of acrylic slightly smaller that the outside edge of the object. Gosia then hand drilled 60 sets of holes into the acrylic.

Conservator, Gosia Dudek attaching the echidna quill object to it's acrylic backing in the Conservation lab at the Powerhouse Museum
Conservator, Gosia Dudek attaching the echidna quill object to it’s acrylic backing.

Gosia and Nadia secured the object to the acrylic by tying very fine nylon threads over the thicker echidna quills and through the drilled holes. Each thread was knotted four times and in case one stitch came loose, another thread was also used in the same set of holes. The process has ensured that the weight is distributed throughout the object, which allows it to be displayed upright.

Sculpture 'One Echidna' by Christine McMillan Echidna spines pieced together to create a circular sculpture
Sculpture ‘One Echidna’ by Christine McMillan. echidna spines, linen thread and glue and an animation which records the image made by light passing through the work. 700 mm (diam), 3.05 min (duration) Image Powerhouse Museum

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