Textile restoration from the heart
TO PRESERVE AND PROTECT
Sitting in a renovated factory in Montreal's historic district, Eva Burnham works in her studio and weaves dreams back into life. “I love early tapestries from the 17th century,” Burnham says. “They often have Biblical stories, or images of the countryside that really tell a tale.” A textile conservator and restorer, Burnham has been working at her craft for more than four decades, and the textile restoration efforts from her skilled hands grace the walls of such places as McGill University and Ottawa's Museum of Civilization.
Previously employed by Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum and Montreal's McCord Museum, Burnham's passion for fabrics led her to open an independent business eight years ago. Days in her studio are spent carefully cleaning a needlepoint found in a grandmother's closet, re-weaving a flea market tapestry find, or offering advice to clients about display ideas and hints for protecting their pieces.
Though seeing her restorations displayed does inspire a proud glow, for Burnham the work is all in the texture. “I've worked with fabric all my life,” she says. “I just love the feel of the fibres.”
HOW TO CARE FOR TAPESTRIES
- Sunlight can fade the fibres of the tapestry - by avoiding direct light and using an ultraviolet filter in a plexiglass frame you can best preserve your treasure.
- Keep your tapestry free of dust, but don't vacuum it, as the suction can prove too harsh. Instead, use a clean paintbrush with long soft bristles and brush from the top to the bottom
Eva Burnham, Montreal, Quebec (514) 767-8950