Sunday, July 12th, 2009 | Author:

One should take measures to handle paper minimally. Handling is a major source of damage to paper. For example, touching can cause the smudging of charcoal or pencil, thus spoiling the paper as well as the image. Touch can have similar effects on pastels. As prints are made on a special kind of paper, which can absorb materials like oils very quickly, so gloves should be worn to avoid having hand stains on the paper. Our hands have oil, salt and sometimes even sweat and paper is a relatively fine absorptive material. Another useful recommendation is to avoid having work of art on papers around the eating, drinking and smoking areas. Also keep your pens, crayons and markers away from your work.

Light has a strong bleaching effect and with the passage of time, the work fades away. Artificial light such as halogen bulbs should be placed at least ten meters away from where the paper art is hanged. Halogen bulbs not only cause discoloration but also damage by overheating the paper and other attached material. Similarly one should not hang such pieces near windows. As paper is an absorptive material, any reflective material over it will reduce the deleterious effects of light, such as covering it with glass or materials such as plastic, which can filter the harmful UV rays.

Some materials are inherently prone to damage or decomposition. Papers synthesized out of wood and iron gall ink are few of such examples. Lignin is the basic component in wood. It decomposes as it complexes to form acidic materials which degrade the paper. Similarly, oak galls and ferrous sulphate that make up iron gall ink eventually release sulphuric acid that further breaks down the fibrous paper.

Pests love paper! A lot of insects and even mice eat away paper. Famous examples are book lice, and bookworms. Pests love cool and dark places. So never store paper art in basements or house attics. If the surface of the paper seems worn out, there is a fair chance that that it is infested with silverfish. Efficient cleaning and housekeeping is the key to avoid such damage.

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