Lightning Talk Abstract


Rebecca Cvetanoski and Hanna Sandgren

 In March 2015, two masters students from the Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation at the University of Melbourne undertook treatment of a contemporary bark painting by Garawan Wanambi, an artist from the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre in Yirrkala, Northern Territory. The paint layer was comprised of natural ochre pigments bound with polyvinyl acetate (PVA) adhesive, and displayed quite extensive flaking, tenting and loss. The painting required stabilization treatments in the form of consolidation and infilling that would cater to the highly soluble and porous paint layer and adhere adequately to the movable cellulose- based substrate. The students developed a compatible fill material based on paper-pulp that was lightweight and flexible ideally echoing any future dimensional change in the bark. There is little published research regarding the use of paper-pulp fills outside of paper conservation, despite their popularity amongst practicing objects conservators. One explanation of the lack of research may be the imprecise methods of mixing such fills; the usual procedure gradually works up a paste by adding aqueous adhesive and optional additives to the pulp in proportions that suit the conservator’s needs. The fill material created for use on Wanambi’s painting was a combination of an acrylic emulsion (Plextol-B500), acid-free hardwood paper (blotter) pulp and Polyfilla® interior powder. This lightning talk will provide an introduction to various recipes. The treatment of Wanambi’s painting will be used as a case study to demonstrate the effects that variations in materials, and relative proportions of the materials, might have on the properties of a custom paper-pulp fill.


Hanna Sandgren is currently undertaking a Master of Cultural Materials Conservation at the University of Melbourne. She has, thus far, specialised in the conservation of Indigenous cultural heritage. Earlier this year, she received a grant, alongside Rebecca Cvetanoski, to conduct in-situ treatment of two significant works from Kintore, Northern Territory.

Rebecca Cvetanoski is a current student at The University of Melbourne, undergoing the Masters of Cultural Material Conservation program. Originally from Canberra, she has an undergraduate degree in Visual Art from The Australian National University, where she focused on all aspects of modern and contemporary sculpture.

2015 AICCM National Conference; Illuminating the New
Paper author:
Rebecca Cvetanoski and Hanna Sandgren