Spores...sleeping nightmare?

Dave

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Joined
Jun 11, 2004
Posts
13,355
From
Edwardsburg, MI
I'm framing a large pencil drawing approx. 30 X 35 drawing size. It's a long story, but the drawing had gotten wet in a mountain creek in Utah after a winter storm car accident. It is graphite on heavy wt Strathmore 235 series 100% cotton vellum...probably 4-5 ply. It came in very wavy and I put it in my press at low heat (under 100 degrees) and it flattened out nicely. No staining on the front surface of the drawing...not even a watermark...must be that clean mountain water.

The back however had some blackish marks on it that I found when I started putting the frame package together and I thought it best to eliminate any foreign material before putiing it together. I took a white plastic eraser fully expecting the marks to disappear. They didn't even smudge. My slow to wake up brain then realized these are probably mold spores and if they were not "neutralized", humidity could reactivate them and big problems could result.

The drawing is fairly valuable, probably in the $3000-5000 range and I'm framing it for the artist who has sold it to a doctor friend at a reduced price because of the slight damage. Framing nicely with 8 ply rag mat, rag backing, UV glass etc.

I was trying to get this to them by Christmas but halted work this evening and called the artist. He was very appreciative of my concern and said to do whatever is necessary even though we won't have it to him for Christmas.

Is it a simple process to get rid of these spores? Is it something I can do or do I need a paper conservator to look at it. As always I appreciate any knowledgeable help.

Dave Makielski

P.S. I might also add as a last thought that I do have several UV light sources which are contact exposure units. The marks are only on the back. Is graphite suseptible to deterioration from exposure to UV light? Would it harm the paper? Would it kill the spores or could it mutate them into a state of taking over the earth with a strain of Super Spores? Just a thought...
 

HannaFate

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Joined
Apr 29, 2002
Posts
10,688
From
Corrales, New Mexico
The only sporicides I know of would not be archival.

The black marks may not be mold. They could be dyes from something the paper was laying against while it was wet.

Mold and mildew spores are everywhere. The trick is to just keep things dry so they don't grow. If you are concerned, you could include a packet of silica gel in the frame package, with advice to the owner to renew it from time to time. You can get colored silica gel that turns pink when it is "full". The customer can then bake it until it is purple again, and re-use it.
 

Rebecca

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Feb 28, 2002
Posts
3,339
From
Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Hi Dave -

We've e-mailed about this, but just in case anyone else in interested, Hanna is right - mold spores are everywhere, and the real trick is keeping things dry.

Silica gels have been discussed elsewhere - they have their pros and cons and require upkeep unless in a sealed package.

The black marks could be dyes as Hanna says, or could be "by products" of the mold's life cycle. The black stains are the hardest (often impossible) to remove, so isn't it nice that they are on the reverse!

Rebecca
 

Dave

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Thread starter
Joined
Jun 11, 2004
Posts
13,355
From
Edwardsburg, MI
What a resource we have in the Grumble! Thank you Rebecca for responding so quickly to my email. Hanna, your advise is also very much appreciated. The various expertises of our fellow Grumblers and the willingness to share information is what makes this forum, in my opinion, one of the most valuable resources to framers.

Thank you.


Merry Christmas to all...

Dave Makielski
 

preservator

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Mar 23, 2001
Posts
2,209
From
Wilmington, DE
Since the drawing was partially wetted, there
may be a latent tide line, that would only be
visible under UV, now. This may show us, later,
as the oxidized material that piles up at the
edge of the wet area, darkens as it ages. This
is not something that you could prevent and
nothing you have described doing would have
contributed to it. It is worth warning the artist
and owner, so that they know what to expect.
If the paper does have mold growing, the hyphae
or fruiting bodies will stick up above the surface
and can be brushed of with a soft brush, out of
doors, down wind of you. As the others said, keeping the paper dry is the answer, otherwise.

Hugh
 

Jack Cee

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Joined
Jun 18, 2002
Posts
666
From
Willows, CA
Has anyone ever considered treating spores with a microwave oven? I would not be willing to treat someones art in this manner without someone else trying it first; try it and let me know.

Jack Cee
 
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