One of the services commonly requested of paper conservators is adhesive tape removal. The piece shown above came into the Jamison Art Conservation studio covered with aging and discolored pressure-sensitive tape, originally used to secure it to a matboard.
The process of tape removal is delicate, and therefore time-intensive. Every tape is different so there is no “one way” to remove it. Removal can be mechanical–i.e. done by hand–or a conservator may have to use solvents to dissolve the adhesive. For this piece, the tape was removed by hand. The image below shows the removal process in progress, as Jamye moves slowly up the edge of the object, using a scalpel to gently peel away the old and discolored adhesive layer.
For more information, check out conservator Beth Heller’s blog, #TapeIsEvil.