Textured Fills

How to: Textured Fills_Tips_2019

Examples: Textured Fills Gallery


Recently given a 10-year critical review in a presentation to the ICOM-Leather Working Group meeting in Paris (June 2019), textured fills are a method of creating surface topography for loss compensation materials with acrylic media on flat, reusable silicone rubber molds. Their use in treatment is part of a comprehensive approach to selecting and applying fill materials.

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 fills 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-fibered papers.

Two things to emphasize to avoid failed fills or a thick/bulky acrylic layer:

1) work in thinnest layers possible

2) this is an aesthetic fill, the bulk of the stabilization should be done by other internal repairs

[See unpublished draft: https://sarahreidell.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/icom_leather2019_publicationdraft_reidell.pdf%5D

Previously referred to as cast composites, they were 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.” Hands-on workshops at leading museums, libraries, and training programs have shared the technique with many.