Newsletter Issue Number:
AICCM National Newsletter No 148 December 2019

Ian MacLeod has been busy in the winding-up phase of the Corrosion and Protection conference in Melbourne and has just signed up a dehumidification firm to set up contacts with the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DGLSC) in Western Australia and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) to establish an emergency disaster response unit capable of mould control in flood-damaged areas in WA as a result of cyclones, burst water pipes, etc.

He has also just returned to Australia after a two-week lecture tour of both islands of New Zealand where he gave presentations to audiences in Auckland, New Plymouth, Wellington and Christchurch on the application of electrochemistry to the conservation of shipwrecks, on land and underwater. His presentations explained how the same in-situ methods of measuring pH, chloride and Eh can help determine which Bronze Age artefacts in Turkey on land sites dating back 3,800 years need active conservation intervention and which can be stored safely until future years and funds for conservation develop.


We’ve had a number of guest speakers this year from within the conservation discipline and other areas of expertise. The most recent was an enlightening presentation on the history of film photography and cameras by Workshop Camera Club long-serving member Robert Halligan. Bob brought along a desk full of historic film cameras to explain their manufacture and talked freely about the development of film photography and the world of gadgets associated.

For our last get-together for the year, Maria Kubik will present on her experiences at the Getty Conservation Institute on the Preserving Collections in the Age of Sustainability course and this will coincide with our Christmas party.

AICCM National Conference 2019: Making Conservation

A fantastic number of WA members made the trip over to Melbourne for the National Conference this year, including a few recent graduates and prospective students. Jessica Walsh presented during the second day of the conference on her research on cleaning painted surfaces with green chemicals and her presentation was very well received. Well done Jessica!


The following is a short report by WA Division member and curator of textiles at the Embroiderers Guild of Western Australia, Gaynor Ashford, on her wonderful collaborative relationships with AICCM conservators and the Western Australian Museum.

When I trained as a Home Economics teacher in England in 1977, I had no notion that the skills I had would be useful in 2019. In the UK, I mainly taught textiles with a bit of art and cookery. On returning to teaching after gaining a B.Ed. in Australia, it was apparent there was a need for teachers of VET (Vocational Education and Training) subjects. It wasn’t until I retired from teaching that I found my niche back in textiles, in conservation.

I completed the Certificate of Museum Studies at Edith Cowan University in 2006, and was lucky enough to win a bursary to study with Maggie Myers at the Western Australian Museum Conservation Labs in Fremantle.

My first morning was confronting. Preparation was beginning on a cricket exhibition called Howzat! My first jobs were to shape a baby’s tummy for a small vest out of Ethafoam, followed by covering a polystyrene head with a stretch fabric, which would display a cricketer’s batting helmet. Barely time for a cup of tea before it was time to try to keep a straight face while clothing a mannequin in skins and protective gear. The mannequin was not cooperating! But Maggie was by this time a friend.

I had recently joined the Embroiderers’ Guild of Western Australia, and from Valerie Cavill and the Historic Textile Collection team I was learning more than I thought possible to know about embroidery and lace. The conservation and museology were put to good use in the care, conservation and storage of the Textile Collection, now amounting to over 2000 objects.

From time to time I have called on professional conservators who work at various institutions in Perth. I have been so grateful to have received their advice and support, so freely given. I enjoy learning what is new in the Textile Conservation SIG, and sharing this knowledge with the team of volunteers at the Guild’s Textile Collection.

A big thank you to them all, past and present.

Gaynor Ashford: Textiles Curator at Embroiderers Guild of WA