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Re: Cleaning of pieces

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  • Craig Lewis
    Hi Lori, my advice about cleaning most pieces is don t !. All I do is to wave a cloth near a piece to gently blow excess dust from it. If a piece has anything
    Message 1 of 8 , Jul 1, 2005
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      Hi Lori,
      my advice about cleaning most pieces is "don't"!.

      All I do is to wave a cloth near a piece to gently blow excess dust
      from it. If a piece has anything delicate about it then it's best to
      leave alone or even better if the piece is small enough invest in a
      glass cabinet to cut down on the amount of dust etc that will fall onto
      it.

      We had a discussion about displaying not too long ago, my display
      cabinet came from Ikea and has 4 glass sides and glass shelves and also
      a low wattage light to illuminate the cabinet. I only have to clean
      inside the cabinet once a month or so.

      Hope this helps a little !

      Cheers
      Craig





      -- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "lorimor29" <lorimor29@y...> wrote:
      > Could I please get some input on the cleaning of wooden pieces.
      > Thanks.
      > Lori
    • GARYGLS2000@aol.com
      Craig s advice to Lori about not cleaning most pieces is correct. However, occasionally an exception comes along. Several years ago I acquired a very old
      Message 2 of 8 , Jul 1, 2005
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         Craig's advice to Lori about not cleaning "most" pieces is correct. However, occasionally an exception comes along. Several years ago I acquired a very old mask from Guinea covered with decades of heavy black grease and dirt. It was difficult to tell whether it was plain wood or wood covered with metal. I took a big chance, violating all the rules about taking care of African art and cleaned it. Much to my surprise, it turned out to be an old metal covered mask with glass mirrors. Pascal Imperato later identified it as an extremely rare Malinke Djankouran Koun mask. These masks are generally made of perishable matrerials such as cloth, leaves or fiber. I've posted the mask  in the "Pictures" section under "GLS." 
         
        Gary
         
        -----Original Message-----
        From: Craig Lewis <craig_n_emma@...>
        To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Fri, 01 Jul 2005 21:06:12 -0000
        Subject: [African_Arts] Re: Cleaning of pieces

        Hi Lori,
        my advice about cleaning most pieces is "don't"!.
        
        All I do is to wave a cloth near a piece to gently blow excess dust 
        from it. If a piece has anything delicate about it then it's best to 
        leave alone or even better if the piece is small enough invest in a 
        glass cabinet to cut down on the amount of dust etc that will fall onto 
        it. 
        
        We had a discussion about displaying not too long ago, my display 
        cabinet came from Ikea and has 4 glass sides and glass shelves and also 
        a low wattage light to illuminate the cabinet. I only have to clean 
        inside the cabinet once a month or so.
        
        Hope this helps a little !
        
        Cheers
        Craig      
        
        
        
        
        
        -- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "lorimor29" <lorimor29@y...> wrote:
        
        > Could I please get some input on the cleaning of wooden pieces. > Thanks. > Lori
        Yahoo! Groups Links <*> To visit your group on the web, go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/ <*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to: African_Arts-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com <*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to: http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      • gcroft@yinandyang.org
        I have a question about cracks, that is perhaps much ado about nothing :-). Does inspecting the interior surfaces of cracks provide any clues regarding an
        Message 3 of 8 , Jul 4, 2005
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          I have a question about cracks, that is perhaps much ado
          about nothing :-).

          Does inspecting the interior surfaces of cracks provide any
          clues regarding an object's age? I've observed thickly
          encrusted objects that appear to be extremely old (a Banywa
          King and Queen pair comes to mind), but was made suspicious--
          perhaps without justification--by the fresh, "virginal"
          looking crack interiors that suggested otherwise ...

          One more data point?

          Cheerio,
          Gary Croft
          Snohomish, WA, USA
        • Craig Lewis
          Gary, you were right to be suspicious about the pieces you mentioned. It is something I always look at if there is a piece with a crack, if it is an old crack
          Message 4 of 8 , Jul 4, 2005
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            Gary,
            you were right to be suspicious about the pieces you mentioned.
            It is something I always look at if there is a piece with a crack, if
            it is an old crack then the dust,grime etc would also have settled in
            the crack and the wood would look drier and be a different colour to
            newly exposed wood.
            In certain conditions old wood could split and reveal fresher looking
            wood in a crack, but most of the time it is a new crack in a new
            piece.
            I have noticed that some sellers (both on the web and on e-bay) often
            describe these cracks as "age cracks", giving the impression that the
            have cracked because they are old. The truth is it can happen to
            brand new pieces.
            Hope this is useful,
            Cheers
            Craig






            --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, <gcroft@y...> wrote:
            > I have a question about cracks, that is perhaps much ado
            > about nothing :-).
            >
            > Does inspecting the interior surfaces of cracks provide any
            > clues regarding an object's age? I've observed thickly
            > encrusted objects that appear to be extremely old (a Banywa
            > King and Queen pair comes to mind), but was made suspicious--
            > perhaps without justification--by the fresh, "virginal"
            > looking crack interiors that suggested otherwise ...
            >
            > One more data point?
            >
            > Cheerio,
            > Gary Croft
            > Snohomish, WA, USA
          • Rand African Art
            Hi Gary, I also agree with what Craig says. Wood shrinks and cracks for many different reasons, but the most common reason is drying out which can come from
            Message 5 of 8 , Jul 5, 2005
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              Hi Gary,

              I also agree with what Craig says. Wood shrinks and cracks for many different reasons, but the most common reason is drying out which can come from age or climate changes. From what I have read, it will usually take a piece of wood 2 to 3 years to adjust to climate and conditions. As a piece moves from a humid climate to a drier climate you are more likely to see newer cracks on the piece as the piece dries out and the wood shrinks, no matter how old the piece is.  

               

              I have also seen many newer pieces that have been represented as having “age cracks” when the piece has cracks on it, and this is probably the result of a common misconception that wood only cracks when it is old, or maybe people don’t know what to call those cracks besides calling them “age cracks”?

               

              I think that cracks in the wood are an important factor in guessing how old a piece may be if it is not documented. I think you have to look at the overall cracks on a piece and look inside them, look at the shrinking and use your observations in making a determination. If all of the cracks look like what you would expect from a piece of wood that has recently cracked then it is most likely the piece is newer, the opposite would also be true.

               

              A lot of museums keep pieces in climate controlled environments at a specific humidity, but a lot of galleries and collectors don’t. I have bought pieces from generally humid climates, and the pieces were generally old, but when I get them back to dry Colorado I will notice that after a period of time an old crack will sometimes start to open up a little more revealing a fresher looking crack. In this case, 98% of the cracks on the piece look old and have appropriate shrinkage you would see on an older piece, but then you have that one newer crack that was caused by a climate change.

               

              I still don’t think you can use this as the only factor in determining age, but I think it can be helpful in a lot of instances. I haven’t been able to find any good resources on this topic, but if I do I will be sure to post them.

               

              Cheers!

              RAND



              Craig Lewis <craig_n_emma@...> wrote:
              Gary,
              you were right to be suspicious about the pieces you mentioned.
              It is something I always look at if there is a piece with a crack, if
              it is an old crack then the dust,grime etc would also have settled in
              the crack and the wood would look drier and be a different colour to
              newly exposed wood.
              In certain conditions old wood could split and reveal fresher looking
              wood in a crack, but most of the time it is a new crack in a new
              piece.
              I have noticed that some sellers (both on the web and on e-bay) often
              describe these cracks as "age cracks", giving the impression that the
              have cracked because they are old. The truth is it can happen to
              brand new pieces.
              Hope this is useful,
              Cheers
              Craig 






              --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, <gcroft@y...> wrote:
              > I have a question about cracks, that is perhaps much ado
              > about nothing :-).
              >
              > Does inspecting the interior surfaces of cracks provide any
              > clues regarding an object's age? I've observed thickly
              > encrusted objects that appear to be extremely old (a Banywa
              > King and Queen pair comes to mind), but was made suspicious--
              > perhaps without justification--by the fresh, "virginal"
              > looking crack interiors that suggested otherwise ...
              >
              > One more data point?
              >
              > Cheerio,
              > Gary Croft
              > Snohomish, WA, USA




            • gcroft@yinandyang.org
              Thank you Craig and Rand. Indeed, one more consideration! Cheerio, Gary Croft Date: Tue, 5 Jul 2005 10:14:00 -0700 (PDT) From: Rand African Art
              Message 6 of 8 , Jul 8, 2005
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                Thank you Craig and Rand.

                Indeed, one more consideration!

                Cheerio,

                Gary Croft


                Date: Tue, 5 Jul 2005 10:14:00 -0700 (PDT)
                From: Rand African Art <rand@...> Add To
                Address Book
                Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Re: Cleaning of pieces
                To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com


                Hi Gary,

                I also agree with what Craig says. Wood shrinks and cracks
                for many different reasons, but the most common reason is
                drying out which can come from age or climate changes. From
                what I have read, it will usually take a piece of wood 2 to
                3 years to adjust to climate and conditions. As a piece
                moves from a humid climate to a drier climate you are more
                likely to see newer cracks on the piece as the piece dries
                out and the wood shrinks, no matter how old the piece is.



                I have also seen many newer pieces that have been
                represented as having “age cracks” when the piece has cracks
                on it, and this is probably the result of a common
                misconception that wood only cracks when it is old, or maybe
                people don’t know what to call those cracks besides calling
                them “age cracks”?



                I think that cracks in the wood are an important factor in
                guessing how old a piece may be if it is not documented. I
                think you have to look at the overall cracks on a piece and
                look inside them, look at the shrinking and use your
                observations in making a determination. If all of the cracks
                look like what you would expect from a piece of wood that
                has recently cracked then it is most likely the piece is
                newer, the opposite would also be true.



                A lot of museums keep pieces in climate controlled
                environments at a specific humidity, but a lot of galleries
                and collectors don’t. I have bought pieces from generally
                humid climates, and the pieces were generally old, but when
                I get them back to dry Colorado I will notice that after a
                period of time an old crack will sometimes start to open up
                a little more revealing a fresher looking crack. In this
                case, 98% of the cracks on the piece look old and have
                appropriate shrinkage you would see on an older piece, but
                then you have that one newer crack that was caused by a
                climate change.



                I still don’t think you can use this as the only factor in
                determining age, but I think it can be helpful in a lot of
                instances. I haven’t been able to find any good resources on
                this topic, but if I do I will be sure to post them.



                Cheers!

                RAND



                Craig Lewis <craig_n_emma@...> wrote:
                Gary,
                you were right to be suspicious about the pieces you
                mentioned.
                It is something I always look at if there is a piece with a
                crack, if
                it is an old crack then the dust,grime etc would also have
                settled in
                the crack and the wood would look drier and be a different
                colour to
                newly exposed wood.
                In certain conditions old wood could split and reveal
                fresher looking
                wood in a crack, but most of the time it is a new crack in a
                new
                piece.
                I have noticed that some sellers (both on the web and on e-
                bay) often
                describe these cracks as "age cracks", giving the impression
                that the
                have cracked because they are old. The truth is it can
                happen to
                brand new pieces.
                Hope this is useful,
                Cheers
                Craig
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