New england gbw the new england chapter of the guild of book workers

How to fasten or secure an artifact has long been a focus of art conservators in all specialties. We have stitched, glued and adhered items for decades, and with each method, the attempt was always to keep the conservation as reversible as possible. The somewhat recent development of strong, permanent, rare earth magnets has enabled them to be used as a reversible fastener. Neodymium rare earth magnets are far stronger than earlier permanent magnets and have only truly entered the market since 1990. They have great potential as a new tool for conservators.

Could there really be a truly reversible tool that would not harm or create holes that we could use? Before these new magnets can be part of our future, a fuller understanding of how they work is needed.


Moreover, a system needs to be developed to determine precisely which attributes a magnet should have for a specific project. Discussion will include: What makes a magnet “permanent”, when were they developed, and how magnets differ from one another (i.e. the various types and their unique materials and properties).

The use of magnets in the past has caused damage, slowing their use among some. However, with a full understanding of how a magnetic system is created and can be adapted, damage can be prevented. To demonstrate a magnetic system and its parts, participants will use a “jig” with various combinations of magnets and metal components. They will also explore the different methods of implementing a magnetic system and the strength of commonly available magnets. Time will be allowed for participants to test a range of magnetic systems and materials with small discussions after before the next one.

Gwen is a Textile, Upholstery, Paper, and Objects Conservator, and full-time principal of Spicer Art Conservation, LLC, located in upstate New York. She received her Master’s degree from the Art Conservation Program at Buffalo State College, State University of New York. She has over twenty-five years of experience, is a Fellow of AIC, and has been in private practice since 1995. She has assisted many museums, institutions and private collectors with the treatment of artifacts and antiquities for both display and storage. Gwen is an AIC Kress Publication Fellowship recipient and is currently writing her first book, “Magnetic Mounting for Art Conservation and Museums”. The book will be a practical guide for understanding magnetic systems and will assist both conservators and museum professionals in the creation of magnetic mounts.

Many academic, public, and museum libraries contain leather bound books that are stilled used in research. Many of these books have weak hinges or completed detached boards. Leather re-backing is cost prohibitive, especially for books that are heavily used in research. This style of repair was refined as a conservation technique by Don Etherington in the1980’s using Moriki Japanese tissue paper and is a common repair technique used for circulating and special collections books. Book Conservator, Anastasia Weigle of IN A BIND STUDIO will offer an on-day intensive on-hands workshop to members and non-members of Maine Archives and Museums. Participants will learn how treat and consolidate leather, repair detached book boards on hollow-back or flat-back leather bindings, what materials and tools needed for the treatment, how to treat Japanese tissue paper to resemble leather. Tools, materials, and books for practice will be provided. Register online: https://www.mainemuseums.org/event-2889560/Registration