Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Tongan Mats and Barkcloth

This week we've been laying out the Tongan barkcloth and mats so that the technicians can begin to prepare the mounts for the new case.

Because of the relatively large size of the barkcloth it has to be rolled for the most part.  Some of the smaller mats, and the overskirts such as the sisi fale, seen on the right in the picture below, will be more visible.

Case layout - the top of the image represents the top of the case

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Tahitian Mat

Mounting a large mat from Tahiti to the back wall of the new case was the next challenge we faced.  We decided the answer was magnets!  Small rare earth magnets have been used to mount barkcloth and textiles for several years now.  They have the advantage that they are small, but very strong, easily powerful enough to hold a mat in place.

Applying steel tape to the board

Finished board
The first step was to make a board slightly smaller than the mat from zero-formaldehyde MDF.  To provide a metallic surface under the mat for the magnets to stick to, we used strips of steel tape, which were riveted to the board to make sure they stayed in place for the duration of the display. 

The magnets were covered with synthetic tissue, which had been painted with acrylics to tone into the mat.  Once in place, they are almost invisible.

Mat mounted on the wall of case mock-up