Synthetic Textures

How to: Synthetic Textures Bibliography

Examples: Synthetic Textures Gallery


The topic of creating synthetic textures — let’s call them TEXTURED FILLS — for book and paper conservation from readily available art supplies was prompted by experimentation and necessity by conservators Grace Owen-Weiss (New York Public Library) and Sarah Reidell (now University of Pennsylvania Libraries). They shared their techniques with the conservation community in a presentation to the Library Collections Conservation Discussion Group (LCCDG) at the Book and Paper Group (BPG) session of the AIC annual meeting in Milwaukee, WI in 2010. An update on the technique was recently shared at the 2018 AIC Annual Meeting Symposium “The Current Use of Leather in Book Conservation.”

Cast films of acrylic media on various substrates like paper or textile replicate the patterns of original surfaces like leather or cloth grain. The textured repairs increase the visual compatibility of mends and allow for treatments more sympathetic to the original object. Materials already widely used in conservation are integrated with surface casting techniques common in objects and paintings conservation. They are easy to create from affordable supplies that are readily available at art supply stores. Textured fills have been successfully used in book, paper, photo, textile, and objects conservation. Completed textured fills are less invasive, thinner, and visually more compatible than traditional repairs with leather or mulberry papers.