Behind the Scenes in Conservation: The Dye Lab

by Conservation


behind the scenes , conservation , textile conservation , textiles , dyes


The dye lab at the Cincinnati Art Museum is one of those behind-the-scenes conservation spaces that is an important part of the hidden work of the museum.  On the wall are recipes, a well-used list of frequently referenced ratios, and color samples for the two kinds of textile dyes our textile conservator mixes.   Dye sample books are used to record the components and results of each dye batch.  Over time, each logbook becomes a more and more useful tool.  The drying rack and the water bath in the foreground and the graduated cylinders and beakers in the background are all used to prepare dyes.  The ingredients must be precisely measured in order to produce exact color matches for patches and support material that are used in many of our textile and garment conservation treatments.  Finally, as you can imagine, the stainless steel sink at right is also vital, with the key being stainless!