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Aaron Studios

Specialist in Restoration of Japanese Screens

Emergency Care

 

If disaster strikes we have a few ideas which should be useful. Please note:

Every screen and situation is unique and these ideas should be taken as a general guide only.
Q. How do I fold my screen?
A. This is not a silly question. We have seen screens torn in two from improper folding. Screens should always be folded face to face, that is painting onto painting. Starting from one of the end panels slowly close the screen shut one panel at a time. When closed all you should see are the backs of the outer panels.

Q. What if the painting splits in two?
A. First check to see that all the paper is there. If any little bits have fallen off, save them. Then, carefully folding the screen as above, move it to a cool dark area. You want to remove the screen from the conditions that caused the damage in the first place.

Q. What do I do if there is a puncture in my screen?
A. Try to make sure all of the pieces are there. If there is a piece of paper that looks as if it will fall off carefully remove it and save it in an envelope. Having all the pieces makes for a much better repair.

Q. We had a flood/burst pipe and the screen got soaked. What do we do?
A. You want to dry the screen as soon as possible. Open the standing screen in a warm dry location out of direct sunlight and turn fans on to gently blow dry the screen. Though the painting may seem dry, there are many layers of paper that may be wet, so give it time. If it looks like there will be a watermark between the wet and dry areas, you may be able to minimize this by lightly misting distilled water on the dry parts. But remember mist the areas, don't soak them! You should do this with the screen fully opened and laying flat on the floor so no paint will run. Once the water has fully absorbed, you can then stand the screen up and dry as above. Please note, you should never fold a wet screen closed. We know this can be more than a bit difficult, but if you fold the screen closed, paint and any metal foil may transfer from one panel to another.

Q. I like to repair things myself but I don't have any starch paste. Can I use white glue?
A. No. No. Please No! There is nothing worse than using glue instead of paste. It can and has made our lives a living hell trying to get glue off of paintings.

Detail from 18th Century painting on Silk.