2020 is promising to be a very interesting year here at the Mountmaking Focus studio. Monday starts the second of the “Mountmaking for Exhibits” workshop series, with a workshop scheduled each month through May. After spending the last year building mounts on the new Burke Museum project, I feel there is a real need for instruction to be about more than just the mechanics of mountmaking and to include the greater context of an exhibit project. Each workshop has an exhibit theme and is to be tailored to the experience level and collections focus of the participants. We go from beginning to installation and try to keep it as real as possible.
One of the things that has me really excited is that I’ve been able to enlist the help of Jack Mackey, former Mountmaking Coordinator for Seattle Art Museum, and now with exhibit casework company Artifex NW. Jack will be sharing his seismic mitigation knowledge and other techniques developed over nearly 30 years with SAM. He is the first of what I hope will be an array of guest presenters from specialties in the museum and conservation community.
As the year progresses, I’m working to develop specialized workshops such as a mannequin building workshop. Mannequins are one of the perennial issues we have to deal with and I’m hoping to tap Aaron Elmore of the Alaska State Museum to share some of the innovative techniques their group developed. We’ll get word out as soon as dates are settled for that one. Also, if you have specific mounting issues you’d like help with, please let us know and we can try to work with you to solve them and possibly integrate them into a workshop.
The other thing I’m working on is the Blog itself. Up to now I’ve only used it as a way of announcing our instructional workshops and talk a bit about how previous ones have gone. As I work with people in museums and workshops, I find there are issues and techniques that I want to focus on and write about. We’ll see how that goes, but I’m hoping the Blog will become an information source and place of discussion for mountmaking methods and materials. I’m especially interested in the discussion aspect as, even though I have 30 years in the field, I only have one point of view and set of experiences. I know that there are a lot of other skilled knowledgeable folks out there and hope they will add their voice.
The first post will probably be talking about is a magnetic rug mount we made in our previous workshop, and how information gleaned from Gwen Spicer’s amazing book “Magnetic Mounting Systems for Museums and Cultural Institutions” was instrumental in making it work. If you haven’t checked into this book, you owe it to yourself to do so as it’s amazing! The theoretical basis for what we’re doing with modern strong magnets is beautifully explained. Because of the information there, we were able to take a mount that was failing to support the object, and with one small addition make it work beautifully. I’ll leave the details to next time, but will encourage you to check out Gwen’s book.
That’s all for now. Check back as I’m also working to update the Resources page and link to other folks in this fascinating profession.