Working with the MoMu/UA Study Collection: Challenges of Black Lace


Mitten (beginning 20th century)

Materials and techniques: Lace; Cotton


The presentation of lace poses a challenge because of its transparency, especially when it is a three dimensional object. A second year student was given the assignment to think of a combined presentation/preservation solution and to study the materials and technology of this black lace mitten, followed by a conservation treatment. The mitten came into the study collection, stuffed in a plastic bag, wrinkled and damaged with lacunas. Relaxation of fibres and creases was achieved with ultrasonic cold steam. The entire mitten was then doubled on a support of white tulle. Lacunas were camouflaged by local colouring of the tulle in black. A white silk cushion was made to match the exact form of the mitten: it provides a perfect support and enables the viewer to clearly see the design of the lace.

Words by Bernice Brigou and Natalie Ortega, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Design Sciences, research group Heritage & Sustainability. Project supported by the Flemish Government.