"Yukon Seasons" Restoration - Phase 4 - by Valery Monahan, Conservator

Yes, I have the mount here with me. There are heavy deposits of snot tape residue still on it ... and they are black from the dust stuck to them. Looking at that led me to look where the antlers rested on the mount. There are lighter deposits there, but they are also black. That's when I began wondering if the black stuff on the skull could be the same thing? It is possible that there was transfer at the time of the theft. If the skull was lifted from those two points by someone who had just smeared their hands on the snot tape, it could have created what I see now.

Valerie adds further details and cautionary notes about her work:

The methods I am using on Yukon Seasons are not necessarily appropriate for all stained art.

It is important for people to understand that I do this kind of work professionally and that years of training and experience go into my choices.

Some of the things I am doing (the needle work, for instance) could do damage, if not done with great care and the right equipment.

'Yukon Seasons, 2003' by Shane Wilson - Restoration, Phase 4 (moose antler skull sculpture)
Valery Monahan restores the moose antler sculpture, 'Yukon Seasons'

The mechanical cleaning (picking with the needle) and even some of the swab work is done with the aid of a large, standing binocular microscope similar to ones designed for surgery and dental work. It allows me to magnify and light the area I am working on, greatly increasing my ability to observe and control what I do. It also allows me to test my methods on different stains and residues safely. I can try something on a tiny spot, essentially invisible to the naked eye. If my cleaning method doesn't work, or if it looks like the method might cause problems, I can stop and change my approach before my actions have any real effect on the artwork.

(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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