SRAL Mist-Lining System

The Mist-Lining system was invented and developed at the Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg (SRAL) by Jos van Och (Head of Conservation until 2019) in the 1990s. It stems from the preceding work, initially presented in the 1970s, by Gustav Berger and Vishwa R. Mehra. It is safe to say that over the past 30 years, some hundreds of paintings have been treated by the SRAL team belonging to local, national and international collections. 

The Mist-Lining system enables the reinforcement of a canvas paintings without affecting the original structures, maintaining their integrity and authentic appearance. This system can be easily adapted to accommodate structural problems presented by both ‘old master’ paintings and modern and contemporary artworks.By determining the individual needs of each painting, a holistic approach to treating the structural needs of a painting can be integrated into a pre and post conservation campaign.  

The term Mist-Lining did not come into effect until a decade after its genesis. The name reflects the way the adhesive is applied as droplets or as a mist. The Mist-Lining system can be adapted to the requirements of each painting by adjusting material selection and use. The variables include using different types of lining fabrics with different weaves and thicknesses, design of the low-pressure envelope to control surface pressure during lining, the thickness of the adhesive layer, and the selection of solvent vapours for reactivation of the adhesive. Mastering the choice of these components, combined with executing necessary pre-treatments, is key to a successful Mist-Lining.  

In essence, the Mist-Lining system consists of the following three elements: a) minimal amounts of acrylic dispersion adhesive, sprayed only to a raised nap of the lining textile;b) solvent reactivation of the dry adhesive using a minimal amount of an appropriate solvent; c) a low-pressure envelope which is capable of conforming to the two surfaces (front and rear) drawing the two canvases together while the adhesive cures.  

A review of the adhesives used over at SRAL encapsulates the history of the technique and provides a pathway for future developments. The choice of adhesives has been one of the strengths of the system, but at the same time one if its weaknesses. The way the adhesive can be manipulated and applied as a thin, non-continuous layer, but in a sufficient amount to provide a good bond, is one of the major advantages of the Mist-Lining process. The fact that in thirty years, the system is on its fourth generation of adhesive formulations is one of the major drawbacks! 

Research projects, conducted over the last three decades have equipped the SRAL team with more knowledge and understanding when re-lining also wax-resin lined paintings, but the SRAL team believe there is much more to discover.  

While the Mist-Lining system has remained relatively constant over the past thirty years, the process has matured and evolved as its practitioners have become more adept and as the technique has been disseminated. The process of Mist-Lining has also been refined over the years, accommodating new understanding and knowledge of the behaviour and properties of the typology of paintings treated. The intricacies require a depth of comprehension to make critical decisions when implementing the Mist-Lining approach. 

Currently the system is getting disseminated and acknowledged all around the world. Our alumni come from various parts of the globe as Australia, the United States of America, Canada, Mexico, Chile, India, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Finland, Estonia, Denmark, Germany, Malta, Republic of South Africa, South Korea, China. Croatia, Colombia and more. 


Mist-Linings for your studio 

The SRAL team has over 30 years of experience performing structural repair of canvas paintings. Our painting conservators will first assess the condition and individual needs of each specific painting drawing up a tailored treatment plan that provides a holistic approach. Each stage of treatment is interlinked and considered at conception, thus ensuring that a minimal approach to material selection and execution is maintained.   

Our specialistscan perform a Mist-Lining for your painting after consultation on invitation, either locally at your own studiooratthe SRALstudios in MaastrichtPrices for treatment are competitive and fair.  

All conservation treatments carried out by SRAL specialists conform to the Ethical Code outlined byRestauratoren Nederland and internationally by the European Confederation of Conservator - Restorers ' Organisations (E.C.C.O.). All treatments are fully documented. 

If you are interested in our conservation servicesplease mail to Subjectline: Mist-Lining conservation treatment

Mist-Lining Workshops 
We are excited to share with you our knowledge and experience on the use of Mist-Lining system and our approach to solving structural issues for canvas paintings. The Mist-Lining system is deceptively simple! Actually,it is a complex system that easily combines and incorporates with other methods for the structural treatments of canvas paintings. A holistic approach is key to implementing a successful Mist-Lining where specific problems are broken down into individual components and adaptive solutions are found. We emphasis a critical thinking attitude encouraging a think-it through Mentality with the ability to reflect on successes and failures alike. 

SRAL regularly organises and holds workshops to teach and disseminate the Mist-Lining technique. The workshop can be hosted at our atelier in Maastricht or on location. Over the years of practice and dissemination of the Mist-Lining system we have developed various programmes to adjust to the needs of our hosts and participants of the workshop. We can provide an introductory workshop on the Mist-Lining lasting three days or more in-depth programme of up to two-weeks or more. We are open to discuss the cost of organising workshop with potential partners. Individual workshops will be custom designed and include many resources, like video clips and instructional videos, materials kit, literature, lectures, in-person, or online meetings and much more.On completion of the course, participants will be able to consider, prepare and perform a Mist-Lining. 

Kate Seymour is a Head of Conservation at the SRAL. She was the project coordinator, instructor and part of the lecturing team for the Conserving Canvas Mist-Lining Workshop hosted at SRAL in 2019. She travels frequently abroad to give a wide variety of workshops on conservation practice and theory to mid-career conservators, integrating her material knowledge and practical skills with an ability to disseminate complex decision-making processes. Kate has practiced and presented on the Mist-Lining over 20 years, recently at the Yale Conserving Canvas Symposium in 2019. 

Joanna Strombek is a Conservator at SRAL. She participates in multiple Conserving Canvas initiatives supported by the Getty Foundation. Joanna assisted with designing the Mist-Lining workshop programme. She is also instructing and lecturing on the subject of Mist-Lining. She practices various canvas structural reinforcement methods including Mist-Lining regularly in the SRAL studios. She has presented and published internationally on various conservation subjects, also at Yale Conserving Canvas Symposium in 2019.  

If you would like to ask us about organising a Mist-Lining workshop, send a request and tell us how you would anticipate hosting or participating in this workshopPrices for our workshops on request.  

If you are interested in the Mist-Lining workshop, please mail to Subjectline: Mist-Lining Workshop

Supporting resources for Mist-Lining 

Online platform with instructional videos and series of lectures   
For thevirtual or hybrid workshopswe offer access to our online teaching platform which hosts resourcesThe platform facilitates online instruction allowing participants to access resources in their own time and pace. The materials included on the platformexplain the process and discuss some of the variables of the system. The platform is only accessible to those enrolled in a virtual or hybrid workshop. 

The Mist Lining Materials Sampler 
Mist-Lining materials are ordered from various suppliers. We do recommend finding the suppliers in your area. We are open to discussing finding locally sourced alternatives. The materials that we use include among different types of textile samples, especially open weave fabrics and (synthetic) non-woven textiles; envelop set up parts – plastic sheets, tubes, textile “breathers”; a spraying tent set up materials; lining adhesive and a reactivation solvents and delivery cloth. This Mist-Lining Materials Sampler can be sent on request (and is available for download on Lulu). It provides an overview of materials used at SRAL for Mist-Lining intended for the experienced practitioner.  

Mist-Lining Handbook
The Mist-Lining Handbook aims to give conservation professionals insight into the methodology, practice, materials and processes associated with Mist-Lining. It provides a guide through the preparation of the original canvas painting for lining, the selection and preparation of the lining canvas, setting up the low-pressure envelope for executing the lining, and the steps required when undertaking a Mist-Lining. The Mist-Lining Handbook is full of tips and tricks for the experienced practitioner, and should be used as an aide memoire for those who have some knowledge of the Mist-Lining system. This Mist-Lining Handbook can be sent on request (and is available for download on Lulu). It provides an overview of the Mist-Lining system used at SRAL for Mist-Lining intended for the experienced practitioner.  

Mist Lining Low-Pressure Envelop
One of the crucial elements of the Mist Lining system is the use of the low-pressure envelope. This tool can be used not only for the Mist-Lining but also for other linings or consolidation purposes.This short time-lapse video shows the setup of a low-pressure envelope for a Mist-Lining. Mist-Lining uses a sprayed coating of an acrylic dispersion applied to a lining canvas for a nap-bond lining that avoids the use of heat, moisture and excessive pressure. This versatile lining system, though not the solution to all problems, can be used for the structural treatment of large format to modern and contemporary canvas paintings.  

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