Joanna noted that the stain and a three-inch long horizontal tear were the print’s primary problems. The print also had several smaller tears, overall stains and tidelines, a missing top left corner, and a large piece of paper applied to the back of the tear at some point in the past to hold it in place and stop it from spreading.
Joanna first worked to remove the stain through a gel bath which involved placing the print between pieces of Japanese tissue and laying it on a large slab of gellan gum. This process allows for a slower, more controlled cleaning than full immersion in a water bath and can reduce the stain with minimal effect to the paper fibers.
Like many dark stains, however, the figure “8” proved stubborn. Joanna was able to further minimize it through an innovative, reversible technique of using wheat starch paste to adhere small slivers of very thin toned paper onto the stain, sometimes placing them between the engraved lines. She also removed the paper mend, realigned the tears, and re-mended them using Japanese tissue and wheat starch paste applied on the reverse side.