At the outset of the project, a major decision was made by representatives of the Veteran's Council to use ghost images to restore the original shape and design of the flag. The tips of the swallow-tail guidon were missing, possibly taken by souvenir hunters (a frequent practice.) The shattered white and blue silks were actively disintegrating and not all of the gold-painted stars had survived the century-old framing campaign. Matters were complicated by the presence of glue beneath many of the stars and at other key points.
Using a combination of heat, solvent, and mechanical action, Camille lifted each glued section and painstakingly removed the cardboard residue beneath. This process sometimes caused the gold-painted stars to break into two or more pieces. So Camille combined archival adhesive, gold powder pigment, and acrylic paint, and brushed the mixture onto sheer polyester fabric. When dry, she cut out star shapes using a stencil made from one of the flag's stars. As she liberated each star from the board, she lightly stuck the star pieces to a new star form using a tacking iron.
The Greater Lowell Veterans Council opted to have Camille leave the full ghost stars rather than cutting away any uncovered portions of the star shapes. These ghost images now suggest the original appearance of the concentric Civil War star arrangement but are different enough in color and sheen as to be an obvious restoration. To compensate for missing areas, Camille also fashioned polyester organza underlays for beneath the red, white, and blue silks.
underlays. Camille then placed the striped section of the flag on top of this ghost image and hand stitched them both to the fabric-covered panel. Next, she transferred the canton, already stitched to its blue organza underlay, onto the panel and stitched it into place. The final step prior to framing was to tediously straighten all of the shattered silk and slowly cover the entire flag with silk Crepeline. Camille hand stitched around the perimeter of flag and beneath each white stripe to hold the tattered flag in place and to prevent any fragments from slipping down. This sheer overlay is invisible from even a short distance and provides a extra barrier between the flag and the acrylic above.