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Rolled Storage for Acrylic Paintings

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    • #135870
      Elizabeth McDermott

      Hi there,

      Our museum has recently acquired a painted rug. It is a contemporary wool rug (possibly blended materials) and the paint layers have saturated the majority of the wool fibers in the rug. The artist has actually commented on how long it took to do so and the weight of the object also serves as evidence! The painting comes apart in sections of various shapes and sizes, and the larger of the sections we have decided to roll because of limited storage space; the smaller sections we will box.

      Does anyone out there have any suggestions as to what materials and methods will be most suited for rolling and storing this type of work? We are contemplating using a thin mylar sheeting as an interleave for the rolled portion, and rolling it face out so as not to deform the paint layers. The pile on the rug is pretty thick, and the primary backing, I believe, is synthetic and has not yet been ID-ed. I know that acrylic paint never really dries, so I’m nervous that the bottom half of the roll will become deformed over time if stored in this way.

      I know this is a tricky one so thanks in advance!


    • #135875
      Kesha Talbert


      This does sound like a bit of a tough one. It seems like you are working through your options well, flat housings for the smaller items would likely be the best scenario. The softer more pliable nature of the acrylic paint presents some pros and cons in this situation. On hand it will be flexible which could be an advantage for rolled storage; however, it is malleable, i.e. deformable, which could be a significant problem. I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to get some folks with expertise in the realm of modern paints and/or painted textiles to weigh in on this issue.

      It sounds like you’re on the right track of thinking with regard to rolling face out to place less strain on the painted surface and using an interleaving to protect the soft paint film from abrasion of the backer. Additional questions that come to mind for me would be what is the potential of changing the surface texture or sheen by having it in direct contact with the Mylar under the pressure of the weight of the rug? Also, would there be a concern for migrating plasticizers to be affected by the contact with the Mylar resulting in a different appearance than the segments in flat storage?

      Thanks for such a great questions and a complex issue, I think it could spark some useful discussion here on the list.


    • #135876
      Kesha Talbert


      The comments I have gotten back so far don’t necessarily provide answers but add thoughts and points of consideration that may help you in the process of forming conclusions as to how you’ll proceed with this.

      There does seem to be a concern for potentially imparting the surface texture of the Mylar on the paint film. It may be worth weighing out the options for the most appropriate material for the interleaving layer with softness vs. slickness considerations and being non-stick. While it may increase the overall diameter of the roll the use of padding or cushioning of some sort may prevent the pile from being crushed. Pile side out does seem to be the preferred direction.

      Would vertical hanging storage be a possibility? Certainly this will depend on the dimensions and the storage space available. Weight may also be a concern with that option as well.

      I will continue to update as I get more feedback.


    • #135880

      Liz – Can you post some photos (remember the size restrictions on jpgs) and dimensions? Thanks – Susan

    • #135894
      Elizabeth McDermott

      Hi everyone,

      Thank you. Yes I will post some photos when I get back from vacation on the 26th.


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