So the last 2 months I really have tried to remain upbeat and positive. It was nearly impossible sometimes (you can ask my mom) and other times it was the easiest thing in the world.

That being said…

I am free from the completely domineering world of Twee Riviere and the oppression that the rector is.

For now, that is all I will say on that matter, come talk to me in person and I will paint a much better picture!

Other than that I am now in Port Elizabeth for 3 days! So far I’ve gotten to see 4 different landscapes, go to an Organ Concert, see the world’s largest South African flag, the original lighthouse, the shark pier (no sharks yet), and a ton of built for tourist attractions! All of this has happened with my broken camera, so I took some mental pictures, and let me tell you, they turned out great!

I’ll be home soon, but I will enjoy and have good memories of South Africa!


I think I know my limits

So I have never really felt homesickness. I generally am happy with an situation I am in and whatever is handed to me I can cope with.

This is different.

It has now been 6 weeks since I have had any real interaction with a person. Now, there are people around and I think they do stuff? I think, because there is no semblance of them actually doing anything. They work, they eat, I think they sleep (I haven’t checked) and then they do it all again…

I might be an introvert, but I at least like to: Go hiking (they don’t go hiking because the Puff Adder is the most common snake in the mountains), Camping (See not about snakes), Exercise (There is not much grass, nor good roads, nor any sort of area where one could do this safely), Go out to restaurants (there is one, across the road. I have had everything on their menu. Twice.), See a movie (yeah, no cinemas. I did watch an hour long video about finding truth, through Christ, that I think was mean’t to kind of persuade me to just believe in Christ and not the church), Sew books together (ok, this is my job, but I love it. So there).

I can’t do any of those things here/have found literally no one to do those things with! There aren’t any young people. Also, not to bash on homeschooling, but when your family starts to resemble a cult in the way they act and think, they are limited in the amount of knowledge they have obtained, or they kind of look to their father figure as some kind of god. There might be a problem. I am definitely fine with honoring my mother and father, and I think I do… but i draw the line at deifying them. They are human, I am human. We make mistakes. Let it be enough…

Ok so the “religion” is weird, but if I expected to have an African adventure this time around I was mistaken.

I came here to learn though, and that… Has been going spectacularly well. Apparently I am good enough(?) and talk about books enough that they are wanting me to come back as a visiting lecturer. I might even come back for a year if they offer me a spot as a student… But this time, I’ll come prepared and with the knowledge of how it all works here.

Hope you have a wonderful Friday!

Here’s a little something to prove I’m still alive

I’ve been bored recently, and honestly I don’t have many adventures that I’ve gone on yet… I did manage to finish all of my art pieces though, and will be working on reports tomorrow but that’s all boring stuff. Also, I’ve been working on a little children’s story. I don’t know where it is going, or what will happen in it, but I will flush it out eventually and make it something a little kid would like to read.

Without hesitation:

I didn’t think it could be this bad, but when you do something as bad as I did… Well, here I am. In the clinker. No more recess, snack time, or anything fun!

It all started on a day just like any other! Sally and I were outside in the sand box playing.

We had just built a giant sandcastle with a real moat, a working draw bridge, and shiny knights!

Sally thought that we should have a princess in the tower but what did she know; this castle was made for battles! Not princesses.

I was about to go get more water to help make the moat keep working when I heard a sound. It was coming from behind the fence. Our fence lead up into the woods, I wasn’t allowed to go in there by myself. I turned to leave, but the sound got louder.

“Sally, come here I need you to listen to something.” I hollored over, sometimes Sally has her head in the clouds, “do you hear anything strange?”

“Nope, nothing strange out there at all” Sally said. Sally never thought anything was strange. She seemed to think nearly everything was normal, except carrots, Sally didn’t really understand those.

“Let’s go investigate” I said slowly opening up the gate. “But mom said we weren’t allowed to leave the yard!” Sally exclaimed “if she comes back we could get in trouble.”

“I know that, but what if the sound is injured. If we saved it we would be heroes and not get into trouble. Besides, if you come with me I’ll have a tea party with you later” it was always sad when I had to negotiate with my sister.

“You have to wear a tie.” She responded. “What?” I questioned “A tie.” And her foot went down. There was no other option. “OK, I’ll wear a stupid tie if you’ll come with me.” If that is all it took to get a chance to explore that sound I got lucky….

A little bit of before, a little less of after…

Ok so as you know I’ve been here, doing an internship in paper conservation. At least that is what I have told you… But you have no actual proof I’ve been doing that. Aside from my word, which is pretty strong, but I figure I can give you a little bit more than that.

I don’t actually know the name of the piece. I’ve been calling this one “Carl Bloch- Ships”

This is the before, there is some staining in the right corner of the sky (in the plate mark) and some staining in the upper left hand corner.
This is the before, there is some staining in the right corner of the sky (in the plate mark) and some staining in the upper left hand corner.
This is the back of the Carl Bloch ships.
This is the back of the Carl Bloch ships.

Ok, so this is the before. It really isn’t in the best of shape right now, it is very acidic and doesn’t look as magnificent as it really should.
So that is where I come in… and well, here it is!

This is what it looks like now...
This is what it looks like now…

Notice, I did not use a filter. The nasty tape edges are gone, and there is no staining in the areas I pointed out before.

Ok, onto a different problem child. Saint Jerome.

This piece was a nightmare, it blistered the moment I placed it into a 3% Peroxide solution, but the results were so good I had to keep going. I will have some intermediary pictures eventually. Maybe when I get to place where the internet isn’t so dang expensive.

Anyways, here is the before.

There is foxing over the majority of the page. Doesn't look so pretty yet...
There is foxing over the majority of the page. Doesn’t look so pretty yet…
Here is the backside... Notice the skinning on the left hand side, in the middle. and right by the sticker.
Here is the backside… Notice the skinning on the left hand side, in the middle. and right by the sticker.

Ok cool. Another nasty piece of art (not the art itself, the paper… When I get to Goya I’ll call that one nasty. Meaning all of it.) but I can do better than this. This is not even pretty yet.

So here is a prettier version.

No more foxing, all the blisters are down. Here is a piece of art...
No more foxing, all the blisters are down. Here is a piece of art…
Sorry for the portrait layout. Here is the backside for Saint Jerome. You can still softly see the skinning in the bottom middle. But I added a paper paste to it. It will dry very close to the color and give it strength!
Sorry for the portrait layout. Here is the backside for Saint Jerome. You can still softly see the skinning in the bottom middle. But I added a paper paste to it. It will dry very close to the color and give it strength!

So yeah here you go. Some before and after. These were the first two pieces of the 9 I have… More to follow someday.

I appreciate you reading and commenting and stuff. I hope each of you have a wonderful day!

Pictures from my walk today (Joubertina)

Two paths diverged…
There is beauty all around.
Nothing fancy here, this bird sounds awful and doesn’t stop honking.
Going and leaving home through this would guarantee that your day is good.
Basically a weed.
$10 worth of food? Why yes, I do accept
Can you tell it is Africa yet?
If you look at the hill closely. Very closely. You will see it doesn’t just have a J for Joubertina…

Well, this was my adventure today. I couldn’t find a sweater to ward off the cold. Or any of my usual souvenirs (being without a bracelet in a country makes me uncomfortable now) but it is what it is. I did see a full market street, I wanted to take a picture but I thought it’d be a little rude when I was the only white person on the street…

Anyways, things get better every day. Just have to find the right outlook.


All sorts of roles

As a paper conservator I will get to do different things such as:

Rub eraser shavings on paper
Mend torn paper with supplies
Wash paper
Dry paper
Stick paper into an alkaline treatment to deacidify paper
Stick paper back into water
Stick paper into acid that I make less acidic by adding ammonia to it
Put the paper in more water
Put the paper into another alkaline treatment
Take all of that and put it into a sizing liquid (real quick like)


RMWDSSSPPTD is the daily life of a conservator. Yes the glorious RMWDSSSPPTD it really is the highlight of the day.

Disregard the research into the object you are required to do. The hours and hours of (actually fun) tedious research.

Disregard the fact that not a single one of your friends will know what you do, but inevitably ask you to fix their broken scriptures or hymn books (seriously people… go buy a new set, mark those up. Love them, cherish them, then get a new set and start again!).

You live for the RMWDSSSPPTD…

In other words, today I:

Rubbed eraser shavings on paper (it’s all done now)
Washed paper (the paper REALLY REALLY liked the peroxide treatment)
Stuck paper into acid that I made less acidic by adding ammonia to it
Put the paper in more water

So basically I’m there folks, I’m so close I can almost taste it!

I have pictures and such. Mostly of the work I’ve been doing… I haven’t been doing much of anything else, I’ll probably walk to Joubertina on Saturday though.

Bless bless,

Weekends are rough, but then I get to work again!

Ok, everyone loves the weekend. I’m no exception I promise, but currently they are hard on me as I am trying to figure out what I can do here, what I can’t, and eventually I will meet some folks and have some fun.

Not saying reading at home alone after sitting in silence for 8 hours while I softly rub eraser shavings in a circle on top of some art isn’t fun (Kohleen, if you read this, I really REALLY don’t like dry cleaning on the physical art surface. The verso, sure. the negative space, absolutely. The art itself? Not so sure about that one), because it is!

It’d just be nice to figure out stuff. Ya know?

So what fills my passion now? Repairing paper! Tomorrow I get to do my first aqueous treatment (washing, then deacidification, then bleaching, then sizing? Maybe)! I’m excited because this means actual instruction! And water!

I was told today that I am a teaching type. I really do enjoy helping others learn what I have learned… Anyone know of any jobs that do that?

Kidding, mostly, but not fully… I love paper conservation, and I love book repair, and I love travel and tourism, and I really really really love Ultimate Frisbee. Teaching is starting to make that list, I just don’t really know how to break into that kind of thing.

Anyways I hope you all have a great day! It is still a relatively new one so make the most of it! (Even if it is a Monday)

Patrick (a book binder abroad)