Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I'm preparing some gelatin right now in order to do a small mend on the parchment of a medieval manuscript. I don't talk much about my Day Job on this blog, but it's an interesting one, and one I'm going to miss. Pretend this looks cool and not like a ghetto double boiler with beakers on a "Buffet Range."

We use gelatin rather than paste because the idea is that you use the material that is closest to / interacts best with the item you're working on. In this case, it's a piece of vellum or parchment, therefore it makes the most sense to use an animal-based adhesive rather than a vegetable-based one.

I suppose that, because I am a paper conservation technician who has decidedly ultimately NOT to pursue this field further, for a variety of reasons, I kind of gave up talking much about it. Here's the bit of the manuscript that needs mending, "before" shot .. that little "island" in the middle there, is literally just hanging on by a fiber.

I think I stopped talking about it because I am not a conservation PROFESSIONAL. But let's face it: my job is cool. I get to work with stuff most people never see, let alone touch, in their lives. We could go on about this, of course -- how many people actually care, can see any REASON, to want to preserve and to study medieval manuscripts? It's not particularly relevant-seeming. But it is fun. I love it a lot, and I'm going to miss it terribly.
After. TA-DA

Although I'll miss my job a lot, and the change is kind of messing with my head (I've been doing this for a while now), all of this inspiration/preparation is exciting, too. I feel really stoked about this career/life change, about the possibilities for reaching greater amounts of people, about being able to better understand the world around me and being able to manipulate systems toward the greater good. I suppose in short: I wanna learn everything, and then teach it to everyone. Since that's not actually possible, I'll try to find a happy medium by learning a few things and teaching those to people around me.

Also, and not totally unrelated, I've been thinking a lot (a LOT) lately about my interactions with others, particularly/usually men, and getting increasingly frustrated when I find I am not being treated in a way that feels respectful. I was going to write about this, but then I read this blog post by Willow and it kind of sums it rather more neatly that I could have. I guess this relates in the sense that I need to consider"exactly WHAT is it that I want to teach people," "do I want to have the teaching-hat on all of the time," and "how does it differ when it's a skill that you care about vs. the (seemingly obvious) notion that you ought to be treated as an equal?" All questions worthy of answering, thought perhaps not precisely now.

At any rate, it is nice - maybe "affirming" is more like it - to know that you are not the only one that notices or is bothered by these things, and equally nice to know that others are speaking up, being angry, too.

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