21 June, 2023

Training course in conservation of textiles

The three-month training course in the conservation of textiles, supported by the Tata Trusts under its Art Conservation Initiative, came to an end in the month of April 2023 at the Mehrangarh Museum Trust, Jodhpur.

During the course, six participants were trained in the best practices of textiles conservation. The course focussed on understanding the material technology of different kinds of textiles, how fibres transform into fabric, mechanisms of different looms, fibre identification and dye extraction, the classification of damages, condition assessment and object documentation. The participants learnt about natural and synthetic dyes that will aid them in dyeing support fabrics for the museum objects undergoing treatment. They also learnt the different approaches for cleaning textiles including mechanical, dry, wet and gel cleaning. Conservation stitches formed an important section of the course along with its judicial application to stabilise the object. Towards the end of the course the participants discussed and learnt how to handle storage of textiles, as well as mounting flat textiles and costumes for exhibitions.

The participants were able to engage in hands-on work on a variety of objects including costumes, furnishings and accessories that were painted, printed and embroidered. The course was helmed by senior textiles conservator Ms Deepshikha Kalsi, and specific sessions were undertaken by visiting faculty experts. A full-time course anchor was present on site at the lab to supervise the participants during their practical work, as well as coordinate the implementation of the course.

Upon the completion of the course, the six participants embarked on one-month long internships to hone and apply the skills learnt during the course.

Here are some glimpses of the training course in action.