Of course with such precious textiles, care and handling becomes very important which is why we have researched care instructions for all our textiles.
Washing of Provenance Textiles
It is recommended that Provenance textiles are hand washed.
However, if you intend to have your fabrics dry-cleaned then always use a reputable drycleaner that is familiar with handling delicate fabrics. It is also suggested that a sizeable cutting of the fabric is kept in case a wash test is required. Always keep the certificate of authenticity or swing tag provided by Provenance which states the composition of the fabric.
When hand washing never use laundry detergents as they often contain enzymes and harsh chemicals, it is recommended that a pure soap with a neutral pH level is used; Provenance soap flakes are perfect for washing your Artisan Textiles. Fabrics need to be well rinsed to remove all soap residues and preferably the final rinse should be with distilled water. If washing silk then ensure the final rinse contains 1/4cup of white vinegar for every 10ltr of water; this will return the acidity level to the silk.
Provenance takes care to reduce the amount of excess dye in its fabrics but cannot guarantee that dye will not be expelled from the fabric during washing. Fabrics can be washed in a household bath but dye residues could leave un-movable stains. If you wish to avoid stains on your bath then use a deep oblong tray that can fit as much of the fabric in it without crushing it.
Lap-fold the fabric into the tray and ensure water is pushed through the fabric; DO NOT scrunch the fabric and never scrub the fabric surface.
Preferably dry fabrics flat on a towel; use an old towel as dye may still seep from the damp fabric.
If this is not possible then dry fabrics over a washing line but do not use pegs as they can mark the fabric. It is best to dry silk by pressing whilst still damp to ensure a good lustre. NEVER dry Provenance textiles in direct sunlight.
If pressing fabrics make sure you use the appropriate temperature setting on your iron and use a pressing cloth both underneath and above your fabric.
Storage of Provenance Textiles
Temperature, humidity, insects and exposure to light are the main contributors to the deterioration of textiles.
Never leave Provenance fabrics in direct sunlight or in damp conditions; good ventilation is important. Textiles should always be washed or dry cleaned before storing.
To store fabrics wrap them in acid free tissue paper to reduce spotting. If you are storing them in a box it is recommended that the box is acid free.
Alternatively, wrap them flat around a plastic or cardboard tube which has been generously wrapped in acid free tissue. You can wrap tubes in Mylar first and then in acid free tissue to increase protection of the fabric; alternatively use acid free cardboard tubes.
Whilst acid free paper may protect your fabrics in one way layers of paper can encourage insects to move in. Natural repellents can be used such as lavender and red cedar as well as pheromone traps but ensure these traps are suitable for textile eating insects. However, if you discover an infestation of insects they must be removed immediately. Once you have the insects removed you can freeze the textile to kill any un-seen insects or their eggs, this is currently a technique used by conservators worldwide. If you wish to learn more go to http://australianmuseum.net.au/
A note from Provenance about their textiles…
The unique hand-crafted nature of Provenance textiles means weaving, printing and dying irregularities are an inherent character of our textiles. The natural “patina” that is created through washing and wearing of natural textiles becomes part of their charm.
For more information about conserving textiles visit the following websites:
- Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute – http://www.si.edu/mci/english/learn_more/taking_care/index.html
- Canadian Conservation Institute – http://www.cci-icc.gc.ca/publications/notes/index-eng.aspx
- Powerhouse Museum – http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/conservation/resources.php
Special thanks to New Zealand textile conservator Sabine Weik for sharing her knowledge of textile care.