"We touch the textile as little as possible "
"We always wash our hands first "
"This foot is completely degraded
We never make something anew
We conserve what is there
To make things anew is historical forgery"
"Always has to be reversible , in twenty years, when new techniques have developed, people should be able to make changes "
The fiber is gone "
"Every time I turn it around or touch it, material comes off
Every material, that old, keeps losing fibers. "
"I copied all the pattern
And remade it
For the other one I need to make it again, because they are never identical "
"This piece is in this boot in one piece, and the other boot in 3 pieces "
"By working with it you really get to know the object "
"It has not been washed
We hardly ever wash
Because every treatment needs to be reversible
Washing is impossible to reverse "
"There can be traces that are archeologically interesting, or that can be genetically interesting
If you wash, that will be all gone "
"Sometimes it is necessary, when your textile is so dirty that it can cause damage to your object
That can be for example when there is sand inside, which is sharp, that can harm your textile "
"The history of your piece is very important for the scientific knowledge of your piece
They are techniques that we cannot do anymore
The finest linens from our collection, today we are not able to make those anymore
Either because we lost the technique or because there were maybe genetically different kinds of flax "
"For that reason we try to intervene the least as possible
And keep the history as much as possible "
"They were not interested in textile
That’s why there are hardly any scientific studies around the topic
The grave of Tutankhamun , the textile has only been looked at in 1992
Let alone the analyses… "
"That is something like 1000 after Christ
At least two weft systems and two warp systems
They call that complex bindings
Manually woven "
"I’m laying them flat now, the pleads
With small weights
To be able to do anything about it, I need to lay it flat
I will not iron it "
"Look , these are all falsifications
This is a false loop fabric
That is just sewn on top
You can see it on the background
They try to make a loop pile "
"Here you also see it, they just worked on top
That is a nice patchwork of everything together
That head, or what has to look like a head, is just placed there after
All those lines, just fake
Also here, completely remade
Probably 19th century, for commerce "
"To preserve the materials we need a constant humidity
From 48degrees and a temperature of 18 degrees
Here it is 20 degrees, but that its constant is the most important
That is centrally arranged
We have a central for all the rooms ,
There are alarms attached to that
So if humidity or temperature changes the technician will be warned on his phone
So he can come and adjust it
It’s supposed to be like that
It’s very important "
"Pure stylistically it is always risky to date objects"
"if there is a variation in climatological circumstances
textile can have only little fluctuation"
"It has been for a few thousands of years in the ground
It’s not supposed to be consumed by us
I hope we can enjoy it for some more thousand years
Otherwise you can’t afford to exhibit them "
"So it is a combination between showing something and conserving it
You need to keep that in consideration "
"Every plead is supported
A vertical setup is not that good for conservation
Every plead is a weak point which can cause a rupture in time "
"A difference in experience
This is a tunica but it became more like a painting
This will last the longest, but I don’t see a human in this "
"These are the body fluids which you see there
By the way they were wrapped inside
A head and the start of the shoulders "
"That’s a big the danger of stitching everything on a backing
You make the textile into a kind of painting "
"That is completely supported
Just to support the weaving
Not only the holes"
"In Egypt everything was s spun
Imported wool from Persia was z spun
So by looking at the spin direction you can trace where it’s from
Now and then you find z spun material in an Egyptian grave
But that could have been imported of course "
Translation and transcription of excerpts of a conversation with restorer Kristin van Passel at the Phoebus Foundation Antwerp by Evi Olde Rikkert