Workshop 2013

workshop participants
In July 2013, the GCI and the Yale Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH) held the second Recent Advances in Characterizing Asian Lacquer workshop at the Center for Conservation and Preservation (CCAP) on Yale's West Campus. Eighteen conservators and scientists from the United States, France, and Brazil worked together in research teams to study historic lacquer samples from their own collections and to present and discuss their findings.

Objectives of the workshops were:
• to demonstrate new analytical protocols and the level of information that can be gathered using these methods
• to provide participants with the tools necessary to use these methods, such as a marker compound database and custom data evaluation tools
• to highlight the benefits that collaboration between scientists and conservators can provide
• to identify pressing analytical and conservation issues in the field and priorities for future research
The workshop struck a balance between lecture, hands-on application, and directed group discussions and included instruction in:
• Precision sample collection of discrete layers within a lacquer sample
• Visible and fluorescent light microscopic examination of chemically-stained lacquer cross-sections, which provides visual, layer-specific information for a number of organic materials
• Pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry with thermally-assisted hydrolysis and methylation (THM-Py-GC/MS), a versatile method with excellent limits of detection
• A systematic protocol for data analysis and interpretation based on GC/MS quantitative analysis software and a specialized Excel worksheet and marker compound database developed at the GCI, which permits detection of a broad range of compounds even when present at trace levels.
In the GCI project Characterization of Asian and European Lacquers, development of a THM-Py-GC/MS procedure to study Asian and European lacquered objects and a program of collaboration with the J. Paul Getty Museum led to surprising discoveries about the range of materials used by lacquer artists. The Recent Advances in Characterizing Asian Lacquer workshop is a unique opportunity for scientists and conservators to work in close collaboration to explore new techniques for understanding lacquered objects in their own collections.
Instructors
Michael Schilling: Senior Scientist and head of the Organic Materials Research at the GCI, specializing in GC/MS and thermal analysis techniques.

Arlen Heginbotham: Associate Conservator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the J. Paul Getty Museum, specializing in the technical examination of furniture.

Nanke Schellmann - Senior Lecturer and Research Scientist at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, specializing in conservation and analysis of furniture and decorative objects and the characterization and treatment of degraded decorative surfaces.

 
Last updated: January 2014