While in Ohio, my friend gifted me this fabulous poster…
It‘s a Peter Max work from 1976, signed in 1976 by the artist on the left. It measures 25”x38”, and it is stunning! Stunning, I tell you!
It was framed, but I took it out to put it in a tube to get it home on the airplane. The paper seemed in very good condition, which gave me the confidence to take it out.
However, 45 years can make paper a little dry, and when I rolled it for the tube, two tears appeared on on side.
Let me tell you, I was a little heartbroken. Not because I felt the piece was ruined but because I had promised my friend I’d take the utmost care with it. I immediately started Googling how to repair it and came across the process libraries and museums use for repair work of this kind.
Rule #1: NO SCOTCH TAPE
This technique uses Japanese hinging tissue and wheat starch paste to bind a tear. I found a shop in Brooklyn, NY, that carries the products and had them ordered before I went to bed that night.
My order came in today, and i set about this evening to do my repair.
You can buy the wheat paste either uncooked or pre-cooked. From my understanding, the uncooked is fresher, but it involves quite a tedious process to cook it and prepare it for use. I chose the pre-cooked—add four parts water to one part paste and mix til smooth.
This is the Japanese hinging tissue. One sheet cost about $10 and will be enough for my lifetime and beyond.
You can see how thin it is, and I got the heavier weight.
You tear strips instead of cutting because you don’t want a perfectly smooth edge. The torn edge will blend better.
After tearing, I placed them over the tears to make sure everything was covered. I had already carefully lined up the edges of the tears and added some weight to hold it in place.
Satisfied with everything, I mixed up my paste and coated the strips and put them in place.
I smoothed everything out and used a tool to rub back & forth to press everything down. And now we wait for it to dry. Do I expect perfection? Nah. I’m not a professional conservator, and this was my first attempt. But I bet it will be better than a Scotch tape repair.