Abstracts: Friday, 9 May 2014
X session: Textiles 3
Textiles and coffins of the mummified children from Keminmaa: Results of CT scanning research
Dr Sanna Lipkin – Titta Kallio-Seppä et al.
Archaeology, University of Oulu, Finland
The paper will present the methods applied in the non-destructive research of textiles, accessories and coffins of four mummified deceased currently under the floor of Saint Mikael's church in Keminmaa, northern Finland. Frost and dry air have created an atmosphere where these remains of small children aged approximately under one year have preserved considerably well. However, recently it has been noticed that these remains are in poorer and poorer condition. A need for research and compiling proper care instructions has occurred. As we are dealing with human remains that deserve honour and respect, non-destructive or micro-destructive methods are applied in research. These include CT (computed tomography) scanning, microscopic examination of the textile fibre samples, and visual analysis.
CT scanning has proven out to be useful in examination of coffin structures, clothes and coffin textiles and cushion. There is no need to touch vulnerable textiles in order to see what is on the bottom of the coffin. Even though according to visual analyses textiles are in relatively good condition, examination of small fibre samples, few millimetres in length, will reveal the true state of preservation. Analyses of these items reveal important details of material culture related to burial customs in northern Ostrobothnian area during the 16th to early 19th century.
'Believe me, I remain': Encountering Mary's wedding dress
Material culture and the museum, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
For nearly twenty years, I was a decorative art curator in a major regional British art gallery. Then I became a PhD researcher, studying an aspect of the collection I had become used to thinking of as ‘mine’.
This paper will consider the shift in perspective from curator to academic researcher, and its subsequent impact on the encounter, analysis and interpretation of objects within the museum. My PhD takes as its subject the Mary Greg Collection of Handicrafts of Bygone Times at Manchester Art Gallery; a collection I have ‘known’ for many years, but which has been reframed and recontextualised through the changing paradigm of my own relationship with it. Subsequently, I find myself rethinking my approach to object analysis. Taking a broadly autoethnographic model to examine my encounter with a particular object within the collection, I will discuss this shift and how it might contribute to the wider understanding of the complex relationships between persons and things.
In the stores at Platt Hall Gallery of Costume, a branch of Manchester Art Gallery, there is a silk wedding dress. It is dated to around 1895 and was given to Manchester in 1922, one item in a collection of more than 2,000 objects of domestic life, craft and design. The dress is in a state of some deterioration, the silk beginning to perish. It is a ‘secondary’ object within a costume collection of outstanding national and international reputation, and has been in storage for many years. Through my encounter with this particular object, I will explore current debates around materiality, authenticity and the emotional object in the context of the museum. I will consider Tim Ingold’s theory of material ‘flow’; the notion of objects as ‘impermanent byproducts’ of the material world’s ‘continual generation and regeneration’ , in order to consider the complex and contradictory relationship between the institution of the museum and the decay of material things. Drawing on arguments put forward by Sian Jones and Caitlin de Silvey , and going back to Walter Benjamin and others, I will consider how meaning is configured (invested in or emanating from?) between people and objects as they (both) deteriorate.
In the context of the 21st century museum and recent debates in the UK around unused and/or neglected collections , my research aims to make a practical, intellectual and creative contribution to the current challenge of ‘too much stuff’ faced by many museums. This paper intends to consider the opportunities and challenges encountered within both professional and academic contexts, in order to consider how each might contribute to the deeper understanding and future potential of the phenomenon of the museum.
”You Had Better Follow the Custom”: The Wardrobe of Marie Anna Mock
Dress History, Sweden
When my great-great-grandmother Marie Anna Heyl Mock died at 33 in 1898, the family put away her clothing in mourning, which passed through four generations and was rediscovered in the late 2000s. From handknit stockings with her married initials and a maternity corset to professionally-made basques and walking costumes, this unintentional collection comprises more than 125 objects.
This talk will explore the unique nature of a single-owner collection: chosen by one woman and preserved contemporarily by her untimely death, these objects represent a singular life and visual identity. However, as a rare example of a head-to-toe wardrobe, it may also represent the visual identity of a typical middle-class, suburban American everywoman in the 1890s. Where does the balance lie between the self and society, and how does the twenty-first-century researcher choose to interpret the clothing that has survived to illustrate those categories? A single-owner collection offers an opportunity to examine how we use clothing to make generalizations and exceptions about our forebears.
Rare and highly personal, preserved wardrobes are often intentional collections belonging to wealthy women: Doris Duke's designer-filled closet, Iris Apfel's wild style, six generations of the Messel family's sartorial treasures. The M.A.H. Mock Collection, on the other hand, is the result of a tragedy that befell a tight-knit middle-class family. Marie was as typical as generalizations get: she was a homemaker, wife, and mother, whose clothing is beautiful, well-made (at home as well as by dressmakers and purchased at department stores), and in style--never avant garde or behind the times. As an advice columnist in the American women's magazine Harper's Bazaar suggested to a reader in 1894: "...you had better follow the custom. Anything else would be too conspicuous."
Unlike her husband and children, who are well "documented" on paper, there is little material evidence of Marie's life other than her wardrobe and family photographs. Is it possible--or simply reductive--to write her history through her clothing? What counts as "evidence" of past lives? Here, the large number of homesewn housedresses--many made using the same patterns--may speak more to her status as homebound cancer victim than the most heartfelt lines in a diary. Clothing is especially closely tied to identity, both past and present: what makes it hers, and what makes it ours?
XI session: Material studies
The study of the provenance of flint artefacts in Estonian Stone Age material: The advantages and disadvantages of possible geochemical methods
Archaeology, University of Tartu, Estonia
The study of the provenance of flint in the find material of the Estonian Stone Age settlement sites has so far been a by-product of various research questions and not an independent topic. The macroscopic observation of flint (the assessment of e.g. the colour, lustre, translucency, cortex, grain size, etc. of the studied rock) allows seeing three major trends: in Early Mesolithic foreign (Cretaceous) flint dominates among the finds, in Middle and Late Mesolithic local (Silurian) flint and in Early Neolithic again foreign (Carboniferous) flint. However, to be able to draw more specific conclusions and approach the material on local scale, one needs to go beyond the trend lines. The microscopical analyses are a possible but not a sufficient means for the determination of provenance since the indicative fossils in the studied rock cannot be determined in many cases.
Thus, in our pilot study for the determination of the provenance of flint artefacts, in addition to macroscopic and microscopic analyses different geochemical methods were tried out. At the Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences of the University of Tartu XRF (X-ray fluorescence spectrometer) and XRD (X-ray diffractometer) were used to measure the elemental composition (with XRF) and the regularity and structure of the crystal lattice (with XRD) of the rock samples. The results of the initial XRF-analysis of the flint finds from Estonian Stone Age settlement sites are not always concomitant with the results of the macroscopic observation, which proves that the latter might not always provide us with the correct answer. The initial results of geochemical analyses also show that with XRF and XRD it is possible to see the differences between the Cretaceous on one hand and Silurian and Carboniferous on the other. In case of Carboniferous and Silurian flint their visual distinguishing is much more problematic and at the moment it is difficult to find an explicit method to discern these geochemically. A possibility to get closer in the provenance studies would be the analysis of isotopes that could be done with ICP-MS (Inductively coupled plasma mass-spectrometry). However, the studies of isotopes are only about to begin and no clear results can yet be presented.
Seeking for a Stone God: About an ashlar fragment in the Tallinn City Museum collection
Risto Paju, MA
Art History, Tallinn City Museum, Estonia
The present paper focuses on just one carved fragment in the Tallinn City Museum collection and as such contributes to the research on Tallinn stone carving and sculpturing on artefact level. Some as yet unpublished information on a renowned master and a few other examples of Tallinn stone carving are included, which makes observations of the fragment justified. Tallinn stone carving might be interesting also for Finnish research, as several limestone artefacts, significant export articles for Tallinn, arrived in the ‘land of granite’. The Turku Cathedral contains one of the examples – Evert Horn’s tomb and epitaph from about 1616.
The Tallinn City Museum lapidarian collection contains architectural details made of limestone from the local Lasnamäe quarries or better-quality dolomite from farther off quarries in Märjamaa in central Estonia. These are fragments of portals, window posts and other details from buildings in the Tallinn Old Town. Among similar collections the one in Tallinn with its over 600 fragments is the largest. Just now the stone artefacts are in the hub of attention for the City Museum, as an exhibition is being planned in the passages of the Swedish-time Ingeri (Ingermanland) bastion.
About a figural ashlar in the Tallinn City Museum collection
Certainly several objects worth of research can be found in the collection. However, when making an inventory and tiding the lapidarian collection up, I could not help noticing just the one with a half figure surrounded by clouds and wearing a mitre and one feathery wing. As the former documentation was limited to a laconic ‘fragment of a carved stone’, it was necessary to start determining its age, function and, with luck, its master. Due to the figure wearing a mitre I’d like to call it ‘Bishop’s stone’.
Comparing the fragment with a well-known stone relief that depicts the worship of the copper snake, several similarities were discovered. The copper-snake relief has been dated to 1550-1570 and it has been supposed that it was a stoop or porch decoration or if the function has not been mentioned, it has simply been described as a decorative stone plinth. Comparing the two, we might even consider them a pair.
No art historian of Tallinn has managed to discover the name of the master who once carved the worship of the copper snake in the lower and passing the two tables to Moses in the upper part of the ashlar. Conditionally he has been called ‘the Master of the Fall’ according to another of his artefacts, the well-known relief depicting Adam and Eve.
Only a fragment has survived of the Bishop’s stone and so it can be only guessed what was depicted on the lost part. One of the possible examples of the stone could be an illustration in Adam Petri’s Old Testament (1524) that depicts the creation of Eve. The figure of god and the clouds in the black and white piece resemble the ones of the Bishop’s stone. Even more, comparing the two we might say that God has been depicted also on this stone.
To ascertain which biblical scenes were considered suitable for 16th-century architectural decorations we should turn to the so-called Bible-house in Görlitz, Germany. Two rows of relief plates depict scenes from the Old and New Testaments beginning with the Fall and ending with the Redemption. In case the ‘Bishop’s stone’ and the Copper Snake relief once did belong together, they might have been a part of some pictorial programme. We cannot present it as a fact, though, as the bigger part of the first stone has not preserved. It is surmising when we say that according to its times the programme might have depicted Law and Mercy like it has been depicted in the Old and New Testament and as it has been expressed in the paintings on Law and Mercy by Lucas Cranach the Elder.
Finally, about the function of the ashlars, although here I prefer to hesitate. They might have been decorative stones for portals or stoops as it has been said before. However, they might also have been decorations for window side-jambs in the interior. It should also be mentioned that initially the ashlars were polychrome.
Summing up, the artefact estimately dates from 1550-1570 and its master might have been the master of the Fall, known in Tallinn for his other works. It evidently was an ashlar for stoops or decorated the side of a window together with another interesting stone carving. The fragmentary information might be a supplement to the history of Estonian stone-masonry and carving.
3D laser scanning as a tool for Viking Age studies
arkeologi, Uppsala universitet, Sverige
The presentation is in English
Vikingatiden var en dynamisk tidsålder där många gamla konstanter sattes ur spel. Man får gissa sig till att utvecklingen lämnade avtryck i den materiella kulturen. Utmaningen för arkeologen är att upptäcka och tolka dessa spår. Ett lämpligt redskap för ändamålet är en arkeologisk autopsi, alltså en ingående självsyn. Nuförtiden förknippas ordet autopsi framförallt med obduktioner på människolik. Om vi håller oss till metaforen om objekt som agenter, framstår autopsi emellertid som en mycket passande term: I likhet med människokroppen samlar objektet nämligen på sig olika spår under loppet av sitt liv. Dessa spår vittnar om tillblivelse och uppgifter, om olycksfall och återställning, om åldrande och bortgång. Genom att genomföra objektautopsier blir det alltså möjligt att rekonstruera en ’biografi’ för varje enskilt objekt.
Idén att upplåta utrymme åt objektbiografier bygger på följande tankegång: Materiell kultur är arkeologins främsta källmaterial och därmed en given utgångspunkt för all teoretiserande forskning. En kontinuerlig nybearbetning av gamla fynd utifrån vår tids metodiska och teoretiska insikter är således ett måste, eftersom arkeologins nya rön annars bygger på föråldrad forskningslitteratur. Ett sådant missförhållande kan i sin tur räcka för att misskreditera materialstudier i sin helhet. I förlängningen kan detta innebära en risk för att materiella kvarlåtenskaper hellre hanteras som ett illustrationsmaterial för olika teoretiska resonemang, än som ett källmaterial i sin egen rätt. Därför är det av vikt att resurser avsätts för materialstudier. Det säger sig självt att varje objekttyp har sina egna förutsättningar. Därav följer behovet av praxisorienterad teoribildning och metodutveckling. Bara på detta vis tar man vara på chansen att ge objekten deras egen röst. Materiell kultur bär på en egen berättelse som behöver tas fram. När objekten på så sätt återfått sin utsagokraft, blir det möjligt för arkeologen att sätta in deras berättelse i diskursen med mer allmänteoretiska resonemang. Mitt eget arbete är ett försök att ta ett litet steg i denna riktning. Genom att på prov implementera portabel 3D-laserskanning i den arkeologiska objektautopsin hoppas jag att visa hur ny teknik kan leda till nya insikter och spörsmål om vikingatidens kulturella förhållanden.
3D-laserskanning som verktyg vid vikingatidsstudier är ett interdisciplinärt samarbetsprojekt i gränslandet mellan naturvetenskap och arkeologi. Mina samarbetspartners är Sebastian Wärmländer (Stockholms universitet) och Sabrina Bannister Sholts (The Smithsonian Institute, Washington). Den gemensamma idén bestod däri att testa för- och nackdelarna med 3D-laserskanning på olika material såsom ben, ädelmetall och kopparlegering. För att maximera synergieffekter inkluderade projektet även ett antal vikingatida praktspännen som råkar ingå i mitt avhandlingsarbete om vikingatidens djurornamentik – och det är några av dessa resultat som jag tänker redogöra för inom ramen för mitt anförande.
XII session: Museology
Transforming a police station to a cultural place for the community: The case of St Gregory Museum, Lousika
Savvas Kazanis, MA
Museum of St. Gregory, Greece
Transforming a police station to a cultural place for the community, The case of St Gregory Museum, Lousika.
The creation of a folklore museum on a small agricultural village constitutes a challenge for its creators. A challenge and a need to present to the public the rich history of the last two centuries through religious and folklore artefacts, which every member of the community has on its possession. This paper is an attempt to present the case of St Gregory’s museum on the village Lousika and how a private idea accomplished a task to transform an abandoned former police station on a cultural place for the community.
The presentation will examine the conservation and the renovation of a small building as artefact, traditional on the area, and secondly it will examine the exhibition area through the artefacts (religious and folklore), how these objects were gathered, conserved, and presented to the community. At the end of the presentation, it will be examined the response of the public to this project and to its own history. The village Lousika with 800 inhabitants is located 23 km west of Patras, the biggest city in Greece, on the west side of the mainland. It is mainly an agricultural village dated from 1870. The main occupation of the inhabitants it was the cultivation of the vine raisins and olives.
On the entrance of the village, in 1952, was constructed the building of the current museum, in order to stage the police station, near the church of the village. From 1952 until the 1987, the building was used for the needs of the police station. After 1987, the building was abandoned and it was founded half ruined until 2007. On that year, a private idea formed from the religious community (priest and some members). It was decided to give life again to the traditional building by transformed it to a religious – folklore museum, with objects from the members of the village.
The purpose for the creation of the museum was the preserve of the building and of the artefacts created by the members of the village. Secondly, it was the gathering of artefacts for educational reasons to the next generations through the exhibition. The project started with the renovation of the building on 2008 and ended on 2009 with the opening of the museum.
The second part of the project was the gathering, cataloguing and conserve artefacts which were on the possession of the church and of the citizens. Artefacts were gathered, conserved, photographed, catalogued on a simple database and distinguished according of the material, use and way of exhibit. A museological and museographic study started to take shape, the examination and the study of the artefacts helped the creators to distinguish the building areas to exhibition areas. After many exercises on paper, the exhibition was formed on three areas – themes.
The first themes was formed from artefacts from the religious history of the village, by exhibiting objects like icons (oil painted, some with gold leaves from 18th century), gospels with silver (1899), religious ritual objects (1837), books (dated from 1887), and a small manuscript from 1886, written by St Nectarious.
On the second exhibition area was created a representation of a small house with the traditional fire place and objects like traditional silver cooking artefacts etched or not, loom and textiles. The beginning of the third and last exhibition place is the continuation of the second, by exhibiting sewing machines, textiles from 1912 and objects from the cultural history from the beginning of the 20th century focus on the marriage and the interaction between the members of the community. An important example are dowry contracts dated on 1908.
On the last part of the exhibition were placed objects from the commercial history of the village and artefacts from agricultural manufacture. Starting point for the each area of the museum was the challenge to preserve, conserve and exhibit the history of the community. During the process of this project, many challenges occurred. Some of them had to focus on the question if the museum was able to succeed its purpose, while the study of the artefacts and during the conservation mainly focused if a private committee can understand the artefacts or the risk of destroying the artefacts existed. The main purpose of this project was the study of the artefacts, artefacts which were manufactured by the inhabitants of this small village, furthermore was the exhibit them to the next generations. A challenge, which was started with the opening of the museum in 2009 and it still continues nowadays. It is essential to mention that this museum was formed in order to create a cultural place for the community, that’s why except the exhibition; educational programs take place inside the museum, based on the artefacts. The museum created educational programs for traditional dances or traditional music in order to complete its own purpose.
"What comes naturally": Imaginative Responses towards Museum Masks
Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, UK
What approaches can be applied to study museum masks? Anthropologists and curators would most likely analyse these objects by observation, examination, document analysis, and ethnographic fieldwork in order to understand their materials, techniques and traditions of making the masks, the cultural meaning associated with their production and application, and other relevant contextual information.
In this paper, I will introduce my ongoing doctoral research where I adopt a different perspective towards cultural objects displayed in museum settings. By proposing an inquiry about the capacity of museum masks to stimulate visitors’ imaginative thinking, I align with the visitor-oriented philosophy that promotes the educational role of museums. Meanwhile, I believe that the role of objects should not be downplayed as the features and exemplars of object-based learning is a central topic for museum education. The departure point of my study is the potential of ‘re-contextualisation’ of museum exhibitions, which differs from the perspectives held by anthropologists and sociologists who emphasise on the politics behind the ‘de-contextualisation’ of material culture in museums. Methodologically, I hope to advance the integration between social sciences and literary arts by employing self-narrative approach and arts-informed inquiry.
The core of my research is my own experience in four anthropological museums in England and my creative responses inspired by some of the masks on display, as presented in the form of reflective accounts and poems. This is supplemented by my communications with three participants who visited some of the museums and who also contributed their written responses. While the study hasn’t been completed, I want to review my discoveries and reflections so far and highlight the aspects of museum context that either limit or liberate imaginative thinking. I will also discuss how available information of the masks may influence one’s responses. I maintain that this approach towards museum objects can contribute to our understanding of visitors’ meaning making in relation to the museum context, which suggests that the significance of material culture transcends their own time-space.
Archaeology of the Ordinary
Dr Nicky Bird
Art, photography and collaborative practices, Glasgow School of Art, UK
The material object at the centre of my contribution is a ‘graffitied’ door and panel wall, made of wood, approximately 2.4 metres high and 1.2 metres wide. These were originally located in one of a group of derelict labourers’ cottages on a farming estate in East Lothian, Scotland. In poor condition and proposed for redevelopment, the cottages were the subject of a report by the Buildings Archaeologist and Heritage Consultant David Connolly (2010). His report included some description of the penciled graffiti, and summarized its significance as ‘providing a record of the people who travelled from Ireland to find seasonal work on the farms of East Lothian in the mid 20th century.’ (Connolly, p 3, 2010) He concluded that further archaeological work is unlikely to be necessary, ‘though more documentary research into the previous inhabitants may be appropriate. The decision however rests with East Lothian Council Archaeology Service.’ (Connolly, p 21, 2010).
Towards the end of 2010, I met David and his partner, Maggie Struckmeier at East Lothian’s Peter Potter Gallery. As an artist who investigates the contemporary relevance of found artefacts and hidden histories of specific sites, I was struck by their story of finding the graffiti made by Irish migrant workers and also how these lived on in the archaeologists’ minds. The gallery had secured Heritage Lottery funds for its programme ‘Lost Landscapes’ and was in the process of commissioning me to produce a work that would result in the show Archaeology of the Ordinary (2011). A compelling question emerged at this point: how could art and archaeology come together to rescue the wooden wall of ‘graffiti’ from a builder’s skip? And secondly, how could its significance and meaning be articulated? In short, how to convey that this material object, and its transient history, was worth keeping.
With these questions in mind, the process of rescuing the wall and the consequent display within an art exhibition, led to the development of a particular methodology. This was collaborative and worked across disciplines of material culture (such as archaeology, museum conservation) and contemporary art (installation, curation). For example, the use of photography included the documentation of the wall in situ and its removal; Photoshop for tracing the lines of the original writer to retrieve more information; and picture research in the local history. Museum conservation included the treatment for woodworm, courtesy of the National Museum of Scotland’s deep freeze facility. Given the importance of farming in East Lothian and the role played by migrant workers, other methods associated with social and oral histories also became part of the methodology.
A brief description of the show is important here. The door and panel wall were displayed free standing in the middle of the Peter Potter Galley along with a number of other artefacts retrieved from the cottages, such as wallpaper fragments, and a spail (potato) basket. A soundtrack played intermittently. This consisted of edited interviews with people who had a specific relationship with the wall, or to the history it alluded to, such as the son of a Potato Merchant Supervisor. Gallery Interpretation introduced the show, and carefully avoided ‘explaining away’ the objects. It invited the audience to consider the show as ‘an archaeology of living memory’ making connections between contemporary art and archaeology through addressing key terms such as ‘site’, ‘artefact’ ‘excavation’ and ‘history’ (Peter Potter Gallery, 2011). Therefore two areas proved to be crucial in helping tease out the wall’s meaning. Firstly, the decision to move door and wall from the cottage to the gallery allowed for all viewers to share the experience of a physical encounter with the object. This led to a close looking at names, statements, dates, written on the wall and in turn different readings of it. Local voices, such as the reminiscences of a farmer’s wife alongside scholarly perspectives revealed the wall’s significance in terms of mid 20th Century changes to farming practices and how these marked the contemporary rural landscape.
My contribution will demonstrate how a material object, when given a brief life as an art object through collaborative methods, can have its history re-activated and the connection to contemporary life revealed. As a consequence these objects become invested with significance, and are now in a museum collection.
XIII session: Textiles 4
What clothes can tell: The suits of Jean Sibelius through photographs and written memories
Dr Minna Kaipainen
Craft Science, University of Eastern Finland
Garments can reveal a great deal of information, attitudes and values about a person. This presentation focuses on the analysis of the clothes of famous Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865–1957) in order to interpret what his clothing can tell about him through the photographs taken of him and written memories told of him.
The inspiration for this study came when I was asked to analyse the suits of Jean Sibelius for the upcoming Sibelius TV-series (YLE Finnish broadcast company, 2015). My earlier research was about Finnish tailoring practices from 1920´s to 1960´s from the point of view of the trade publications and one country tailor. When I made object-based analysis to the tailor-made garments from the 1950´s and 1960´s, I also compared the production techniques and styles to information and fashion advice given in tailor’s trade magazines in the same era.
This study concerning the suits of Jean Sibelius will have two parts. The first part concentrates in the photographs of him wearing suits and other outfits from 1876 till 1955 and to various written descriptions and memories on the clothing of Sibelius. Photographs of suits are examined as representations of his style and cultural era. Later, in the second part of the analysis, the survived garments of Sibelius from museum collections will be examined more object-based way, because of the importance of close analysis of primary clothes. Photographs rarely show details as clearly as the real garments, for example one cannot tell if the suits of Sibelius were purchased ready‐made or were they made by order. Analysis of styles, quality and production techniques will then be conducted with the original garments of Sibelius. Object-based analysis is also needed because of the contrast of written texts and photographs revealed in preliminary results of the first stage.
In the first phase of the analysis the photos from the internet and museum data bases were placed in chronological order starting from year 1876 and lasting till 1955. From films depicting Sibelius still pictures were taken and placed to the same chronological document. Written descriptions were found from different literal sources, e.g. biographies and studies of Sibelius, and placed in order and interpreted in comparing them to photos from the same era. Next phase will be the comparison of the photos and texts to the information given in contemporary men´s fashion magazines and trade publications of tailors.
Preliminary results of the first phase analysis of the texts show Sibelius to be very particular of his appearance. Sibelius was mentioned to be very elegant gentleman with his double-breasted white suits with Windsor knotted ties, brimmed hats and canes. In the contemporary writings he was described very respectfully, e.g. as "grand seigneur" with sophisticated behavior, great intellect and charming conversational skills. There is however some disharmony between the admiring memories and the photographs; despite the descriptions of Sibelius being very well dressed all the time the photos show e.g. missing button of one suit and the fact that his suits in older ages did not seem to suit his figure that well. For this reason more detailed examination is needed, if the suits were old tailor-made ones made for slimmer and more muscular younger figure of Sibelius. Also the amounts and materials of white suits have to be revealed: in different memories fine white suits are told to be from different materials; linen, wool and flannel.
After analysing the photos, texts and real garments and comparing them to contemporary fashion information I hope to be able to interpret the personal style of Sibelius and meanings of his garments in comparison to contemporary dress code and men’s fashion.
Aprons as a representation of home, family, cleanliness and craft making
Dr Outi Sipilä
Craft Science, University of Eastern Finland
This paper is based on a dissertation of craft science. It examines aprons as artefacts and pieces of clothing, and describes and interprets the surrounding culture, society and women's life. It uses methods employed in cultural history and gender studies with foundations in the hermeneutic scientific tradition. The goal is to understand and make understandable the meanings associated with aprons within different temporal and cultural frameworks.
Aprons and the meanings associated with them are studied in the contexts of Finnish home and school in the first half of the 20th century. The specific target is to consider how the contemporary understandings of home and its premises, family, cleanliness and handicrafts were present in the texts about aprons and how these understandings were made visible through the instructions, norms and expectations for using and manufacturing aprons. The sources include an abundance of various types of original data: magazines, craft books and other books on handicrafts and household management with edifying purpose, craft magazines and periodicals, fiction and Finnish films. Other research data includes personal memories about aprons as told by private persons.
An apron is examined as a representation of home, family, cleanliness and craft making through looking at three generations of women: the generation of craft cultivation, the generation of material shortage and the generation of ready-to-wear clothing. A closer look is taken on conceptions of the household premises, a familistic ideology of a family, cleanliness and hygiene, and making of crafts and the meanings of making crafts.
Conceptions of the household premises and the limits between the private and the public became concrete as apron norms, which did not only specify how one should dress but also how women should behave in the household premises. The apron confined the women in the kitchen and, at the same time, blocked the men outside. However in the countryside the limitations were less strict and the norms for using an apron were more permissive than in urban areas.
The apron was the symbol of a housewife in the beginning of the 20th century. In accordance with the familistic ideology of a family, the well-being of the household and the family were specified as housewives responsibility. Apron was a piece of clothing that underlined wives important status as the creator of homely atmosphere and protected her clothes during household tasks. In the source texts on aprons, the housewife's apron was both practical and attractive, a proper “magic cape of a homemaker”. At the same time, the apron became one of the visible indicators of cleanliness. Cleanliness of a household or lack of it ‒ both in terms of hygiene and social cleanliness ‒ became materialised in aprons. The aprons of servants and girls were under extra observation. In order to keep their aprons clean as expected, they had to behave in a discreet and responsible way suitable for a woman.
Teaching of craft was considered a part of the public education process, and aprons, too, were made in many levels of schooling and craft courses. Once primary school became compulsory in the 1920’s, the majority of children got to school and nearly every girl learnt to make and use an apron. A well-made apron including technically flawless performance and materials and decoration techniques that showed good taste was a sign of handicraft skills. The women of the generation of craft cultivation, especially, learnt that only a specific, defined way of making crafts was the right way. The women of the generation of material shortage were freed, partly because of the very lack of materials, from the strict definitions of looks and decorations.
The apron as a craft product was more than an object made in schools and courses. Aprons were used as a form of communication, when they were given as presents to friends and relatives. Aprons were popular Christmas gifts both for the makers and the receivers. Sewing of aprons, especially when voluntary, also gave pleasure to the makers. It was a rewarding experience to be able to make something beautiful with a practical function too. When making aprons, the maker could also relax, challenge her resourcefulness and creativity and enjoy making handicrafts.
Analyzing mass produced everyday objects from the past: The case of jeans
Dr Ferenc Hammer
Cultural sociology, Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary
Analytical issues associated with professionally designed, mass marketed and mass consumed artifacts offer new dilemmas in material studies, quite interestingly somewhat similarly to the populist turn in media studies about a generation before, when popular media genres‘ audiences – after decades of neglect or even occasional despise – had received serious attention, as meaning makers in culture. In material cultural analysis mass-produced and mass-consumed artifacts pose challenging new questions for the inquiry about uses and further meanings of those objects. To start with, one might encounter a set of artifacts of ephemeral materalial feature in research, such as an icecream from the 1960s, that probably even museums with the richest collection do not possess, but which object (if one can call an icecream an object at all) is still present in the memories of living individuals who are eager to recall and reflect on their encounter with icecreams in the 1960s. One may ask the question whether are there ways to connect more canonized knowledge about icecream (food manufacturing history, retail and marketing historical analyses, popular representations‘ analysis, etc.) to knowledge produced by individuals in the present (or in the past) concerning the same subject. How to rank these different sources from viewpoins of importance or authenticity? If mass produced artifacts in question are more durable than an icecream or a hamburger, such as an IKEA cheese slicer from 1971, a box of condom or a pair of jeans, and they receive a traditional artifact status in a museum or a private collection, that is, becoming catalogued, scholarly described and professionally preserved, but lack any information about their actual use (as let’s say gifts from an unknown patron of the collection), how does professional-academic analyses about those objects relate to unprofessional (and sometimes arguably unreliable) personal memories regarding those objects. Especially when one may assess hundreds or thousands of recollections regarding that particular objects (in online discussion forums, let’s say). How does the concrete materiality of an object of one-in-a-million in a musem display relate to the epistemological status of my memories about my first pair of jeans that I still remember vividly, but which object physically vanished in the 1970s?
In my presentation I’d highlight the most important methodological and conclusions of my research that I conducted in the past years on jeans wearing in Socialist Hungary (in the period between 1956 and 1989). One of my sources were about 150 first-person narratives in which their authors wrote me in detail the story of their first pair of jeans. Respondents had not received instructions concerning anything „expected“ form or content of their reflection. Due to this methodological choice of mine, the narratives I have received show a great variety in their length, style, type of reflection, or textual craft. The point of my presentation is that material and symbolic analyses of denim jeans (a slippery cultural field, due to high marketing use of the discourse on „what jeans really meant“) can truly benefit from „crowdsourced“ contributions of a user community. The most valuable import from the first-person memories has been those small, virtually unobservable items in the user narratives which could become only visible to inquiry when they were repreated, for example the expression of a vague bodily affect when putting on the jeans the first time. Another important element of this kind of analysis is related to nonverbal elements in these memories, such as a touch, smell, a bodily posture, a manual skill, or further forms of „incorporated memory“ (Connerton) and the status of these „memories“, or rather, re-enactings in the process of the analysis of the given artifact.
Here’s a sample of the first conclusions of my work regarding jeans.
• ‘Sartorial Manoeuvres in the Dusk: Blue Jeans in Socialist Hungary.’ In F. Trentmann & K. Soper (eds.) Citizenship and Consumption. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008 pp. 51-68.
• ‚The Real One. Western brands and competing notions of authenticity in Socialist Hungary.‘ In Andrew Bevan and David Wengrow (eds.) Cultures of Commodity Branding. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2010.
• ‘Magyar Denim. Metamorphoses in the clothing factory.’‘Denim: Unravelling Contradictions’ special edition of Textile: the journal of cloth and culture (Oxford: Berg) June 2011
• Entry ‚Jeans‘ in the three-volume Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture, Dale Southerton ed London: SAGE Inc. 2012 http://www.uk.sagepub.com/books/Book235518#tabview=title
• ‚Teenage Metamorphoses: Elements of Change in First-Person Memories about the First Pair of Jeans.‘ In The Everyday of Memory: Between Communism and Postcommunism, edited by Marta Rabikowska. Oxford: Peter Lang (2013).
Reading dress mannequins in museums: As a technology, actor and mediator
Dr Anne-Sofie Hjemdahl
Museology, University of Oslo, Norway
Different kinds of display technologies are used in museum exhibitions to communicate a subject or topic in a specific way. Glass cases, electric light, colours, texts and computers are well known examples. Common for all of them is that they work and does something with the object on display. In this paper I will focus on display technologies and outline some possible perspectives for how we can study such objects. To be more specific I will focus on dress mannequins and explore how these types of objects works in the museum. What kind of body does they produce, how does they interact with the dress and what kind of effect do they have in the exhibition?
In 1933 Nordiska Museet in Stockholm developed a new type of dress mannequin for their brand new and modern dress gallery. The mannequin was made of wood and iron. It was flexible and constructed so it could be adjusted to different types and sizes of dress. The mannequin itself was constructed without head and limbs. Even though, it was possible to add legs, arms as well as heads to it. This mannequin represented a new approach to costume display. It differed from earlier technologies solution Nordiska Museet had tried out in dress exhibitions, such as realistic wax figures with faces made of vax and bodies made of hessian and straw, mannequins from the stores as well more abstract constructions. After a while this specific mannequin spread to a lot of Scandinavian museums and was used to exhibit peasant dress as well as fashionable dress. For many museums this also became the standard and only solution for how to exhibit fashionable dress.
In this paper I will draw on inspiration from science and technology studies and actor-network theory and focus on the mannequin as a technology, an actor and a mediator. The purpose for this technology is to make bodies for the exhibited clothes. Therefore I will focus on the materiality and the script embedded in the materiality, and explore how the technology itself relates to an ideal type of body. At the same time I want to focus on the mannequins role as an actor and explore how and in what way it managed to distribute knowledge about the body across countries and museums. At last I want to focus on what kind of effect the mannequin had at the displayed dresses in the exhibitions. How did it mediate the displayed dress?
XIV session: Näkökulmia (in Finnish)
Kotimaista keramiikkaa kivikaudelta keskiajalle: astioiden alkuperän ja menneisyyden verkostojen jäljillä geokemian metodein
FT Elisabeth Holmqvist-Saukkonen
arkeologia, Helsingin yliopisto
Provenienssianalyysit edustavat esinetutkimuksen poikkitieteellistä erityisalaa, jossa arkeologis-historiallisiin kysymyksiin etsitään vastauksia geokemian analyysimetodeja soveltaen: esineiden valmistusalueita, -tekniikoita ja vaihdantareittejä selvitetään niiden raaka-aine- ja alkuainekoostumuksen perusteella.
Suomesta löytyneiden arkeologisten keramiikkalöytöjen provenienssia on viime vuosina analysoitu eri aikakausien tutkimustematiikkaan liittyen. Tutkimuskohteena ovat olleet esimerkiksi neoliittisen kivikauden aikainen nuorakeramiikka, rautakautiset astialöydöt Rapolan röykkiökalmistosta sekä lyijylasitetut keskiaikaiset punasavikeramiikka-astiat.
Tässä katsauksessa esitellään eri aikakausien tapaustutkimuksista saatuja tuloksia sekä hankkeissa sovellettuja tutkimusmetodeja, kuten pyyhkäisyelektronimikroskopia (SEM-EDS), hiukkasherätteinen röntgen-emissio (PIXE) ja kannettava röntgenfluoresenssispektrometria (pXRF). Tutkimustulokset tarjoavat tietoa eri aikakausien kotimaisesta keramiikan valmistuksesta, valmistuskohteiden sijainnista, tuotannon erikoistumisesta ja teknologisten innovaatioiden omaksumisesta. Ulkomaiset verrokkiaineistot tarjoavat mahdollisuuden selvittää myös vaikutteiden, astioiden ja ihmisten saapumisreittejä Suomen alueelle sekä menneisyyden yhteisöjen kontakti- ja kauppaverkostoja.
Taidehistoriallinen ja materiaalitieteellinen tutkimus Jyväskylän yliopistossa: tapaus Manet
FM Teija Luukkanen-Hirvikoski – FL Marja-Liisa Rajaniemi
taidehistoria, Jyväskylän yliopisto
Jyväskylän yliopistossa on käynnistynyt vuonna 2013 Recenart-tutkimushanke, jonka tavoitteena on etsiä monitieteisiä sovelluksia taideteosten tutkimiseen ja taiderikollisuuden kasvun vähentäminen. Monitieteisyydellä ymmärrämme eri tieteiden välistä yhteistyötä, tässä hankkeessa taidehistorian, konservoinnin, fysiikan ja kemian osaamisen yhdistämistä. Tutkimushanketta rahoittaa Tekes vuonna 2014.
Taideteosten tutkimuksessa on perinteisesti käytetty teoksen tekijyyttä ja ajoitusta selvittävää attribuointitutkimusta ja omistushistoriaa valottavaa provenienssitutkimusta. Niihin sisältyvät taideteosten tyyli- ja ikonografiakysymykset. Taidehistoriallisten menetelmien rinnalle tarvitaan luonnontieteellisiä menetelmiä, sillä teoksiin sisältyy runsaasti informaatiota, jota ei voida luotettavasti selvittää visuaaliseen analyysiin, aistihavaintoon tai intuitioon perustuvin keinoin. Nämä menetelmät ovat usein riittämättömiä teosten aitouden, ajoituksen tai tekijyyden selvittämiseksi.
Hankkeen pilottikohteena on Kuopion taidemuseon Toivolan taidekokoelmaan kuuluva ranskalaisen Edouard Manet´n (1832–83) maalaus nuoresta naisesta. Teosta ovat aiemmin tutkineet Tiina Koivulahti ja Maarit Hakkarainen taidehistorian opinnäytteessään (2000). Provenienssitutkimuksen perusteella teos on kuulunut itävaltalais-tsekkiläisen ruhtinaan Josef F.H. Colloredo-Mannsfeldin (1813–95) taidekokoelmaan. Suurlähettiläs Urho Toivola hankki teoksen omistukseensa oletettavasti 1950-luvulla. Maalauksen attribuoinnista on ristiriitaisia käsityksiä. Osa tutkijoista pitää teosta Manet’n maalaamana, osa puolestaan kiistää Manet´n tekijyyden teoksen muotopiirteiden perusteella.
Esittelemme konferenssissa teoksesta kesällä 2013 tehtyä lisätutkimusta ja alustavia tuloksia sekä tutkimusta dokumentoivan videon. Jyväskylän yliopiston soveltavan kemian laitoksella maalausta tutkittiin seuraavin luonnontieteellisin menetelmin:
- Stereomikroskoopilla tarkasteltiin maalauksen yksityiskohtia. Maalauspinnan rakenne osoitti teoksen olevan vanha ja signeeraus oli tehty märkään maalipintaan.
- Röntgentutkimuksella tutkittiin teoksen pintakerroksen alla olevia luonnostelmia ja muutoksia. Hyperspektrikameralla otettiin eri aallonpituuksilla olevia kuvia tutkittavasta teoksesta. Tutkimukset osoittivat, ettei maalauksessa ole luonnospiirustusta eikä signeerauksen alla ole muita merkintöjä. Maalaukseen ei ole tehty myöhempiä lisäyksiä.
- Väripigmenteissä olevia alkuaineita selvitettiin RAMAN-mikroskooppin ja pyyhkäisyelektronimikroskoopin (Scanning elektron microscope, SEM) avulla. Alkuaineanalyyseissä selvisi, että maalauksessa käytetyt pigmentit olivat käytössä Manet’n elinaikana. Tutkimuksissa ei toistaiseksi löytynyt Manet’n nimellä signeeratun teoksen aitoutta kiistäviä tietoja, mutta teoksen tutkimusta jatketaan.
Luonnontieteellisiä menetelmiä voidaan käyttää myös kovien materiaalien ja paperipohjaisen taiteen tutkimuksessa. Menetelmillä saadaan tietoa myös teosten mahdollista konservointia varten (Collon Philippe & Wiescher Michael, 2012).
Kansainvälistä esineistöä tutkittaessa ongelma on vertailuaineiston niukkuus kotimaisissa kokoelmissa. Kansainvälisen asiantuntijaverkoston muodostaminen on olennaista tutkimushankkeen edetessä. Suomesta puuttuu riittävä määrä esimerkiksi kansainvälisen modernin taiteen tai kulttuurihistoriallisen esineistön asiantuntijuutta. Recenart-tutkimusryhmä rakentaa olemassa olevien verkostojensa tueksi aktiivisesti uusia globaaleja yhteyksiä. Monitieteinen taideteostutkimus hyödyttää useita tahoja, kuten museoita, keräilijöitä, taidekauppaa, vakuutusyhtiöitä, poliisia ja tullilaitosta.
Recenart hyödyntää tutkimuksissaan Jyväskylän yliopiston materiaalifysiikan ja kemian laitoksen tekniikkaa. Ryhmään kuuluu kemistejä, fyysikoita, konservaattori ja taidehistorioitsijoita:
- Taiteiden ja kulttuurin tutkimuksen laitos, taidehistoria: Hanna Pirinen (hankkeen vastuuhenkilö), Katja Fält, Tiina Koivulahti, Teija Luukkanen-Hirvikoski, Marja-Liisa Rajaniemi ja Janne Vilkuna
- Kaupallistamisasiantuntija Laura Aineslahti
- Fysiikan laitos: Ilari Maasilta ja Timo Sajavaara
- Kemian laitos: Juhani Huuskonen ja Mika Pettersson
Konservointi Tuulikki Kilpinen Oy
Valtion taidemuseo, tutkimuslaboratorio: Seppo Hornytzkyj
Materiaalit ja tekemisaktit taidetekstiiliesineen analyysissa
FM Minna Polus
taidehistoria, Helsingin yliopisto
Väitöskirjatyössäni tutkin suomalaisia 1950–1960-lukujen ryijyjä, joita kutsutaan valööriryijyiksi. Valööriryijyt olivat 1950-luvun muotoilussa monella tapaa edelläkävijöitä – ei vain tekstiilitaiteessa vaan yleisestikin suomalaisessa muotoilussa. Tämän takia unohdettujen valööriryijyjen tutkimuksella on erityisen tärkeä sija suomalaisen muotoilu- ja esinetutkimuksen kentässä. Tutkimukseni lähestyy valööriryijyn esineellisyyttä tulkitsemalla sitä visuaalisuuden lisäksi materiaalisuuksien ja prosessin luomana affektiivisena teoksena.
Minua kiinnostaa taide-esineen materiaalisuus ja valmistusprosessi. Erilaisin - materiaalisuuksia ja valmistusprosessia - analysoivin tulkintatavoin valööriryijystä löytyy uusia ennennäkemättömiä puolia. Erityisen kiinnostavaa on ryijyn prosessiin sisältyvien tekemisaktien vaikutus teoksen valmistusvaiheissa sekä kysymys niiden läsnäolosta valmiissa ryijyssä. Minkälaisia reittejä materia syntyy tekstiiliseksi esineeksi? Minkälaisia valmistusprosessin jälkiä valmiista valööriryijystä ilmenee teoksen kohtaajalle?
Esitelmässä perehdyn valööriryijyn kautta materiaalin ja valmistusprosessin analysoinnin näkökulmiin ja keinoihin. Käsittelen materiaalin ja tekemisaktin vuorovaikutusta esineen valmistumisessa. Esitän analysointituloksiani havainnollisina, konkreettisina esimerkkeinä. Tutkimus luo työvälineitä paitsi tekstiilin niin eri materiaalisten esineiden teosanalysointiin.
Maria Oransista Rukoilevaksi Maariaksi: pohdintoja korun kuva-aiheesta ja käytöstä
FM Zivile Meskauskaite
taidehistoria, Helsingin yliopisto
Esitelmäni aihe ankkuroituu hopeasepän ja muotoilijan Börje Rajalinin (s.1933) vuonna 1957 suunnittelemaan Neitsyt Maria -aiheiseen riipukseen. Korun esikuvana oli hautalöytö rautakautisesta Karjalasta, Maria Orans -solki. Koru oli osa merkittävää arkeologista löytöä, mikä ilmenee arkeologi Theodor Schvindtin (1851 – 1917) väitöskirjasta Tietoja Karjalan Rautakaudesta (1892).
Rajalin suunnitteli esitelmäni keskiössä olevan Rukoilevaksi Maariaksi nimetyn riipuksen osaksi Kalevala Korun tuotantoa. Korun kuva-aihe, Maria Orans, on ikonografisesti vakiintunut kuvatyyppi, jolla on vakaa sija taidehistorian tutkimusperinteessä. Kyseinen riipus onkin konkreettinen osoitus kuva-aiheen selviytymisestä ja välittymisestä – tietynlaisesta paluusta. Mutta se on myös osoitus korun käytön pitkään jatkuneesta, paljolti hämärtyneestä tai peräti tiedostamattomasta, luonteesta.
Aion esitelmässäni pohtia kuva-aiheen mukautumista sekä mahdollisia syitä siihen, miksi korut ovat taidehistorialle haasteellisia tutkimuskohteita. Lähestyn näitä kysymyksiä Rukoileva Maaria -riipuksen tarinan kautta, jolloin muuten abstrakti kysymysverkosto saa konkreettisen tarttumapinnan.
Esitelmäni aihe nivoutuu läheisesti taidehistorian oppiaineen väitöskirjani aiheeseen Koskettava kuva – 1900 – 1950 -lukujen Neitsyt Maria -aiheiset korut ruumiillisena kuvamuotona. Tutkimuksessani yhdistyy kaksi aihetta, jotka ovat jääneet akateemisessa kiinnostuksessa vähemmälle huomiolle – korut ja 1900-luvun alkukymmeninä Suomen kulttuurikontekstissa korostunut Neitsyt Marian hahmo.
XV session: Religious art
Investigation of hidden mural paintings as base for storytelling and knowledge sharing
Anna Henningsson, MA
Disent AB, Sweden
Mural paintings dating back to the 11th-12th century are hidden on Swedish church attics. Their current location on the attics was given during the 15th century due to extensive alterations in the building structure. This location complicates the access to the objects and as a consequence they have been hidden for visitors and due this forgotten during some periods. A project how investigates the used materials and painting technique have been initiated.
This paper presents how examination of painting technique in combination with art history can reveal new and hidden facts about mural paintings. Further, the paper elaborates on opportunities of knowledge sharing of investigation result and the adding value as these objects from the early medieval period in Sweden have become through the investigations.
Painting technological evidences such as used materials, either regional or imported as well as which layer was added first or last on a moist or dry plaster around 800 years ago, is not exclusively of interest to experts. During the site investigation the project team arranged presentations to the locals at site. The painting technological findings can give new dimensions to the community and locals in the parish.
Study of the painting technique of these murals have reveled new knowledge about their historic context and art historical dating. Visualization of the painter’s process, toll marks, layers and used materials present is a story about the creation of the painting. This knowledge sharing have increased the awareness about these unique original murals and adding new dimension of value to them and their locations.
Biblical motifs in medieval wax seals: Iconographic analysis
National Archives of Latvia
Seals as signs of authenticity have been used since ancient times, initially as signs of property and family. In the course of time these signs developed to that form and obtained that meaning that we know nowadays. In scientific view, seals have been studied since the 13th century, but in the 18th century the study of seals, known as sphragistics or sigillography, became an auxiliary science of history.
Since the very beginnings of studying the seals, they have been associated with history. Only recently – in 1970’s and 1980’s scientists have started to view them not only as sources of historical research but also as sources of art history, sociology and even gender studies. Nevertheless these new trends have developed and evolved mainly in Western Europe.
Latvian State Historical Archive holds large collections of parchment documents with pendant wax seals. These collections, until very recently, have not been properly examined even from the point of view of historical research. And as a consequence – there have not been any studies of these seals in context of art history.
This presentation will focus on preliminary examination of medieval wax seals from one fund of Latvian State Historical Archive, dating from 13th to 16th centuries. It has to be noted that this period of time is a time of Livonian confederation and it included territories of Latvia and Estonia, but in this presentation only the seals that can be related to the territory of Latvia will be examined.
In Livonian period there are seals belonging to temporal and mental power, as well as seals belonging to cities. A different symbols and motifs used in each of these groups are more than self evident. However, the most common motifs in medieval wax seals are the ones with biblical content. That is the main reason why the seals with biblical motifs will be examined in this presentation.
To carry out the iconographic analysis, all seals (in total 689 items) from the Latvian State Historical Archive’s 8th fund – “Archives of Internal Magistrate of Riga”, have been sorted out by the criteria of biblical motifs. The seals that matched this criterion (in total 197 items) were divided into three main categories depending on the main motif depicted in them. A division into several subcategories also has been carried out, depending on the smaller details and elements also depicted in the seals.
The iconographic analysis is a part of larger research of wax seals stored not only in the Latvian State Historical Archive but also in other institutions and it is anticipated that this research will allow to view the seals as an unique sources of art.
Looking behind and under: Analysing the Master of Lieto in the Context of 14th Century Sculpture
Katri Vuola, MA
Art history, Åbo Akademi, Finland
The presentation will deal with different viewpoints and analysing methods, that I believe are crucial for researching and understanding Medieval wooden sculptures. In the focus of this presentation is a group of sculptures dated to the first half of the 14th century. These ca twenty sculptures are regarded to form an `oeuvre´ or workshop production of `the first Finnish artist´, Master of Lieto. This master, also called in the older literature `sculptor´, has been named after a sitting sculpture of Mary and the child presumably originating from the parish church of Lieto. It has become a kind of common knowledge that `Master of Lieto´ was working in Turku. Based mainly on stylistical and iconographical judgments, it also has been submitted that he was influenced by French-German art in the island of Gotland, where he has believed to have been got his education.
Because of the scarcity of written sources concerning the manufacturing and acquisition of sculptures for ecclesiastic use in the Middle Ages, the sculptures themselves play an important role as source material. Stylistic and iconographic analyses are still valid as methods for understanding the subject matter and theme and for dating and defining the provenance of (medieval) art. Nevertheless, the use of these methods is today usually based on well planned and executed documentation of the objects. Furthermore, it has became almost a necessity to apply scientific methods, e.g. dendrochronological analysis of wood, microscopical analyses of the colour pigments and different X-ray and imaging methods. It is no news, that the use of these methods has already questioned earlier theories and assumptions, but also in some cases confirmed them.
The advantages of combining different analysing methods will be illustrated in this presentation by using Master of Lieto, the subject of my Master Thesis, as a case study. With this I try to concretize some of the research problems of 14th century sculpture, traditionally in Finland defined as Early Gothic or High Gothic. My approach to the subject matter has been in that sense traditional, that I have observed, described and photographed the visible form of the sculptures. No samples of wood or pigments has yet been taken. Still, just by paying more attention to the technical details of the artworks and by viewing the artifacts practically from all possible angles, it has been possible to discover, that the uniformity of style in this particular group of sculptures does not necessarily mean that the sculptures are uniform in technical execution: The sculptures are carved in many different ways and the quality and use of wood varies inside the group. Also the shared style features, that has been interpreted to refer to a workshop style, can be questioned by comparing the sculptures with each other and with other sculptures from the same time period.
The visual analyses of the technical details in the sculptures and the use of scientific analysing methods do not only create a basis for the interpretation of subject matter and theme but they also have an important role in contributing to the understanding of production processes of medieval art, cooperation models of different handicrafts and also to the understanding of commercial, social and ecclesiastical contact networks necessary for the acquisition art for liturgical and devotional purposes.
Storytelling in Altarpieces: Putting Predella Panels into Context
Dr Ira Westergård
Art history, Finnish Cultural Foundation
This paper focuses on a particularly interesting predella painting preserved in the Sinebrychoff Art Museum (The National Gallery) in Helsinki. The painting showing Saint Roch is here attributed to Francesco Francia and his workshop in Bologna, and dated to the early sixteenth century.
The panel's iconography is unusual, because St. Roch is here shown in a rare narrative setting drawing attention to specific details of the saint's hagiography. The panel also raises more general questions concerning the kind of evidence that can be drawn from panels that are only fragments originally belonging to large altarpieces.
Narrative predella paintings were meant to visualize stories and conceptually they could often be viewed quite independently from the main panel of the altarpiece. In some cases, predella panels contain clues, material, technical or iconographical, that can help reconstruct the original design of an altarpiece, or connect it to an existing main panel.
XVI session: Textiles 5
Experimental archeology and modern textile art: Observing the reproduction of Eliel and Loja Saarinen’s May Queen tapestry
Dr Leena Svinhufvud
Art history, Design Museum Helsinki / University of Helsinki, Finland
As a researcher of modern design history I had the rare opportunity to follow the process where an object of modern textile art, a ”unique” hand woven wall hanging was reproduced by a highly experienced weaver-specialist. My paper will present this case study and discuss the meaning of this experience to a design historian.
The original textile is a wall hanging owned by the Bobäck primary school in the municipality of Kirkkonummi near Helsinki. This hanging, or tapestry as it is called was woven in the mid-1930s in the weaving studio of Loja Saarinen in Cranbrook, Michigan, USA. Loja Saarinen donated the hanging to the school in 1952. A partial reproduction was woven in 2012 by craft teacher Ann Jonasson.
The making of the reproduction required a thorough examination by the weaver-specialist. The process reminded that of experimental archaeology, copying the manufacturing methods and materials of a preserved historical object and examining through this the original working process. Also a conservator’s analysis was made of the condition ot the textile. In this process, new information about the materials and weaving technique was produced. My own work included interviews of the weaver and the conservator, studying the original textile with these experts and observing of the weaving process.
As a researcher, I deal mainly with modern textile design where the designer is not the executor or maker. Basing on the case study my questions are, what information can the reproduction process give to the design historian, and what can material analysis and conservator’s study of a single object give to research of modern design.
Delving into the Pile: Analysing Historical Stoddard Templeton Carpets for Textile Design Process Explication
Dr Helena Britt
Textile design, Glasgow School of Art, UK
Within the textile design domain, the creative process often remains tacit and solely the knowledge of the individual creator. This paper describes approaches to analysing a collection of historical samples produced by the Scottish carpet manufacturers Stoddard Templeton in order to unearth and explicate textile design processes. The name Stoddard Templeton denotes a group of once prolific companies, synonymous with the formation and development of the carpet industry in the United Kingdom. Developing from Paisley shawl production, the foundations of James Templeton & Co date to 1839 when, with William Quigley, James Templeton patented a chenille making process which pioneered the mechanisation of carpet manufacturing. In 1862, American Arthur Francis Stoddard formed the Glenpatrick Carpet Mills and then A F Stoddard & Co in Elderslie. Existing for over 160 years, Stoddard Templeton designed and manufactured carpets for an array of highly prestigious Royal occasions and residencies. They also produced for events such as the Festival of Britain. The interiors of Glasgow Cathedral, the Scottish Parliament and the White House, have at one time featured Stoddard Templeton carpets. The companies designed and manufactured for ocean liners including the Titanic and Queen Mary, for hotels, bars, restaurants, offices and other contract interiors throughout the world. An abundance of domestic designs were created which carpeted millions of homes. In addition to their in-house design teams Stoddard Templeton commissioned an array of reputable designers including Charles Voysey, Walter Crane, Frank Brangwyn, Enid Marx, Marion Dorn and Mary Quant.
Throughout their individual and collective existence, to assist expansion, a number of subsidiary companies were purchased. Regrettably, in the latter half of the twentieth century interior trends and consumer preference for exposed floorboards, hardwood, concrete and high performance surfaces for flooring, coupled with competition from overseas, led to a decline in carpet manufacturing in the United Kingdom. The closure of the remaining company, Stoddard International PLC in 2005 marked the poignant demise of the West of Scotland carpet industry. However, within the residue remained an unrivalled historically significant archive containing inspirational design references, design work, corporate records and carpet examples. A consortium comprising The Glasgow School of Art Library, University of Glasgow Archive Services and Glasgow Life formed to purchase and safeguard this archive for future generations. A group of textile samples from this acquired collection, now held by the Archives & Collections Centre at The Glasgow School of Art, provide the focus for this paper. The thirteen samples date from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Prior to commencement of the research, only minimal details listed on a conservation report were known. Visual motif, product form, production technique and impact of manufacturing process on design have been analysed. Through studying these artefacts it has been possible to uncover aspects of design process methodology and in particular the utilisation of inspirational reference library and archive resource materials in the creative process. In certain instances it has been possible to identify specific dates of origin, a complex task when investigating an industry in which design reproduction and adaptation played a prominent role. This study has formed part of a larger project examining the workings of the Stoddard Templeton design studio. The insights gained contribute to minimal existent knowledge in the carpet and textile disciplines regarding design process and designers’ utilisation of archival resources from a historical perspective.
Dr Heidi Pietarinen
Textile and Clothing Design, University of Lapland, Finland
A Finnish textile designer Marjatta Metsovaara (1927– ) was one of the leading names in European textile design during the 1960s. For over three decades she designed colourful woven textiles and bright, cheerful prints for public interiors and private homes. Both Metsovaara like a Finnish-American textile designer and leader of the Cranbrook Weaving department in the 1940s Marianne Strengell (1909–1998) saw woven textiles as architectural elements.
The most interesting are Metsovaara´s and Strengell´s hand and mass produced woven textiles for airplane and car interiors (upholstery fabrics and blankets). They wove many different materials into their textiles (like Metsovaara with the use of metal and wire, etc.). There are similarities in the textiles, and I can also see similarities with the work of American textile designer and weaver Dorothy Liebes (1897–1972) and an American fabric designer Boris Kroll (1914-1991).
My interest is not only in the textile objects that are loaded with designer´s significance. I investigate how these airplane and car upholstery fabrics characterize and were influenced by Cranbrook´s Swedish weaving technique and professional weavers because Metsovaara was influenced by and Strengell´s influence was seminal for American woven fabrics. Interiors do not exist anymore so I have to rely textile archives to be able to “weave” yarn by yarn upholstery fabrics (Cranbrook Museum of Art: Michigan, Designmuseum: Helsinki, Metsovaara private archives: Nice). I am interested in conceiving both tacit knowledge (textures, weights and materiality) and hand and mass produced weave structures (interiors) in the present, to understand better the significance of the woven textile between the public (airplane) or private (car) interiors.
Bristow, Maxine, 2012. Continuity of Touch – Textile as Silent Witness. The Textile Reader. Ed. by Jessica Hemmings. Berg. London, p. 44–51.
Cipriani, Christine, 2009. Fruits of the Loom. Dwell Magazine July/August 2009, p. 104–106, http://www.ccmht.org/CCMHTPressDwellJulyAugust2009.htm. S.a. 6.6.2013.
Pietarinen, Heidi, 2009. Teen huoneita ja suljen ovia. Marjatta Metsovaaran sisustustekstiilit tekstiilitaiteilijan representaatioina ja näyteikkunoina maailmalle. Lapin yliopistokustannus. Rovaniemi.
Schoeser, Mary & Blausen, Whitney, 2000. Wellpaying Self Support: Women Textile Designers in the USA. Women designers in the USA 1900–2000: Diversity and difference. Ed. by Pat Kirkham. Yale. University Press. New Haven and London, p. 145–166.
XVII session: Synpunkter (in Swedish)
XVIII session: Modern times
Analysis, documentation and conservation treatments of some plastic objects from the Plart’s historical collection
Alessandra Guarascio, Independent Conservator of Modern Materials and Contemporary Art, Singapore
Alice Hansen, Conservator - Coordinator "Plastics in art and for art”, Plart Foundation, Naples, Italy
Valentina Mombrini, Conservator, Carlotta Beccaria Restoration Studio, Milan, Italy
Antonella Russo, Conservator, Plart Foundation & Metronapoli Art Stations, Naples, Italy
The identification of an object’s constituent materials for conservation purposes is not easy and it always needs the support of scientific techniques. That is even more relevant when it comes to modern materials, especially plastics, which consist of multiple components.
The main subject of this study is the analysis, documentation and conservation treatments of some plastic objects of the historical collection of the PLART Museum (Naples, Italy). The aim was to develop a protocol that would guide future analyses, documentation procedures and conservation treatments, respecting the object’s authenticity and stability, and to test the application of supplementary information to the already existing inventory files. The study was carried out during the practical workshop “From theory to practice – The identification and the conservation of plastic materials”, held by Thea van Oosten (Senior Conservation Scientist) and Anna Laganà (Conservator/Researcher of modern materials) within the 1st Inter-disciplinary Restoration Course “Plastic in art and for art: polymers as artistic and restoration materials in Cultural Heritage” organized by the PLART Museum in 2012.
PLART is a private Foundation, which has been recognized as a Public Interest Museum for its great cultural and historical value. It was founded in 2008 to preserve an important collection of over 1500 historical plastic design objects and works of art, dating from 1850 to 2000. The collection testifies the evolution of industry, technology and society’s uses and costumes. In line with the concept of relational museum, the Foundation also promotes scientific, educational and artistic research based on the idea of multi-disciplinarity. This peculiar approach to the museum’s role has allowed creating an international network of active collaborations regarding restoration and conservation of plastic artefacts.
These objects often reveal serious and unexpected degradation problems. This has led to the necessary to go into more detailed research on passive and active conservation measures. The first step has been the cataloguing of the collection, made in 2009 thanks to the help of PLART’s art/design historians and scientists. All objects were surveyed adapting the OAC inventory files for contemporary art and plastic artefacts; they were photographed, dimensionally measured, macroscopically observed and described; the historical/artistic information and the FTIR and Raman spectra were inserted on an online database. These investigations allowed to identify the materials of each object and to separate the objects based on the classification of synthetic polymers. After this, it has been possible to outline a preventive conservation plan.
The idea of organizing international multi-disciplinary master classes about the Degradation, Conservation and Restoration of synthetic art and design arose from the need to learn more about the most recent experimental research carried out around Europe and to gather information about the tools, methods and different approaches to conservation. Five case studies were chosen: a Stromberg Carlson telephone (Kansas city model), a Starlite GT&E telephone by Autelco, a Mickey Mouse toy, a transparent cup holder and an ACME Jug Model n° 5 thermos were studied by modern art restorers Alessandra Guarascio and Valentina Mombrini, who took part to the course and workshop.
The first and most important aspect was the characterization of constitutive materials, which was quite difficult because of the presence of added dyes, pigments, stabilizers, plasticizers and antioxidants within the material. Synthetic compounds could only be analysed with advanced analytical methods, like FTIR and Raman. The analyses were carried out by Thea van Oosten during the workshop. The appearance of the materials and their characteristics (such as colour, odour, sound, hardness, elasticity and trade name if present) were observed too. The previous cataloguing data were completed, adding: current photographs, current spectra, current state of preservation, past restoration, general and specific measures of conservation (pointing out the urgency of restoration of each object). One of the five objects studied was subject to biodegradation. Most of them were in a poor state of conservation. For three objects it was also possible to realize the conservation treatment hypothesized during the investigations, such as cleaning of the surfaces and adhesion of the detached parts. The conservation methodologies were suggested and supervised by Anna Laganà during the workshop.
Better documentation, structural, aesthetic and storage conditions were achieved for the studied objects. The success of this investigation procedure should now be applied to all the other objects, in order to create optimal conditions for the whole collection.
Behind the cinematographic experience: Films as objects
Film Restorer Beatríz Torres Insúa
Until some years ago going to cinema involved the experience of watching the projection of a film strip with photographically printed images running through a projector. At the present time most of the commercial cinemas have started to project images that come from digital sources. Nevertheless motion picture film is and will be still around in archives, museums and collections. Its different attributes and historical, aesthetic, social, functional and economical values make this objects part of the cultural patrimony of humanity, therefore is the duty of the film conservator to safeguard these important legacy.
Motion picture films should be projected in order to live the cinematographic experience, nonetheless they will also provide important information when are examined in detail. This activity is called “Film inspection” and consists of handling, smelling, looking and listening to the film strip, this activity will allow the film conservator a detailed approach to the film as an artifact.
In this paper I will talk about how a film conservator approaches to the film object, what kind of tools and expertise is necessary, and what kind of information can be obtained during the process of a film inspection. To exemplify it I will refer to the process of preservation carried out in two film objects: a group of home movies from the photographer Nikolas Muray and a Mexican Newsreel Production.
1. The Nikolas Muray home movies, are a group of ca. 27 film reels with a format of 16 mm, that portrait one period of the life of this significant photographer. They are part of the film collection of the George Eastman House in Rochester NY. The project had consisted in inspect the hole collection and identify the manufacture technique, generate a condition assessment, and valorized the content in order to propose the most significant films for its restoration.
2. The Mexican Newsreel Production project, consisted in the film inspection of a 35 mm film with news like the Pan-American Games in Mexico 1959, advertisements, and a short film. The film was inspected in order to understand the decay present, make a proposal for its conservation and create a guide with the most important aspects that should be consider during a film inspection.
Having as a background the studies of cultural heritage conservation and subsequently being specialized in film preservation, the subject of studying the film as an artifact has been on my interest in order to promote the conservation of motion picture film not just for its content but also as objects itself.