plastics in paradise

by - 1:24 PM

During my current time working in museum conservation, I spent a considerable amount of time researching the physical deterioration of textiles and most recently, plastics. Out of Chemical and Engineering News is a story centered around polymer artifacts from the 1970s onward. "Preserving Plastic Art" follows both the practical and artistic uses of polymers in installations as well as consumer products. As conservators begin to work with plastics in museum settings, the chemical degradation of these materials is becoming a hazard.

Of many problems includes one I have faced in the lab this summer: cellulose acetate degradation among early 20th century ballgowns. This problem isn't confined to artifacts considered a century old--artists Madeleine Berkhemer is included in the piece, as she struggles with the short life-span of sculptures made of nylon and spandex.

I love Madeline's work and have included some photos of her sculptures--as well as some sketches. Her use of color is so creative and aesthetically pleasing. Her sculptures mix geometric shapes with color schemes to produce lively and enjoyable installations.

Diamond 1
Ruby oval cut II
Pin Up 1
Study for Ghibli'Palais Thum & Taxis

Most recently she has collaborated on a project with the notorious fashion house of Christian Louboutin. 

trademark red soles peek out from under a fuschia top. 

Her self-titled website consists of her online portfolio as well as articles of her upcoming exhibits. I encourage you to spend some time browsing amongst the large collection of works, but to my non-francophone friends I warn you that l'ecole des carresses translates roughly to "school of touches." You've been warned.


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