By Camille Myers Breeze
As the deadline approaches for us to conclude the replication of the Henry Adams bed hangings, we are one step closer to the key component: receiving the digitally printed fabric.
Trustworth Studios, in Plymouth, MA, is the home and studio of artist David Berman. He produces exquisite wallpaper, needleworks, and fabrics from historic patterns and photographs. He is perhaps best known for his line of C.F. Voysey designs which he has brought back to life and made available to today's commercial market.
Joining me for the exciting task of reviewing fabric samples was Kelly Cobble, Curator of the Adams National Historical Park. Kelly is the supervisor of this conservation project and has the daunting task of helping to decide how close to the fabric's original appearance this new fabric should be.
The challenge in reproducing this fabric digitally comes from the fact that it is a silk rep (having a slight ribbed texture) with regularly spaced medallions of white silk floats and a moire, or watered pattern. The fabric is discolored from soot and smoke and damaged from age. The original cochinille pink color is preserved inside seams, however the rest of the bed hangings are a more masculine burgundy tone.
We settled on a favorite sample, with a 7.5% layer of "dirt," or slight darkening applied. We then took all of the samples to the Adams National Historical Park to examine them in situ and see if our favorite was still the best choice.
When we compared the printed samples and the original fabric on the bed where it is to be displayed, the results were completely different. The lighting in the third-floor room is UV filtered and the ceiling is fairly low. We concluded that the sample with no "dirt" applied was perfect. In other words, David Berman's original final product was spot on!
We are very anxious to receive the 30 yards of digitally printed fabric from Trustworth Studios early in August and to finally begin the process of hand sewing the replica bed hangings!