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Ceramics: Stain Reduction Workshop met Lauren Fair

Het KIK en de École nationale supérieure des arts visuels (ENSAV) La Cambre organiseren een workshop met Lauren Fair (Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library / University of Delaware, VS) in het kader van het project Cultureel Erfgoed in Crisis (CHrisis).

De workshop is bedoeld voor conservatoren en restaurateurs van keramiek die geïnteresseerd zijn in de principes van het reduceren van vlekken en in de uitdagingen voor de Belgische gebieden getroffen door de overstromingen.

Datum en tijdstip
26 maart 2024 09:00 - 27 maart 2024 14:30
ENSAV La Cambre, Brussel en online
15 euro

De workshop zal doorgaan in het Engels.

The workshop provides an in-depth look at the principles of stain reduction on ceramics. Lectures, including the theory of cleaning, the materials and methods of application, and case studies based on years of experience, are combined with practical workshops. KIK-IRPA's research on treatment methods’ effectiveness and side effects will also be presented. Attendees will gain an in-depth understanding of the chemical and physical implications of stain reduction treatments to explore these treatments in their conservation laboratories.

Participation is reserved for ceramics conservators.

IMPORTANT: There are two ticket categories

  1. Theory only (online attendance): half a day on the 26th of March 2024. This ticket is for the theory sessions only. A link to the online platform will be sent to you after ticket purchase.
  2. Theory and practice (in-person attendance): 2 days, on the 26th and 27th of March 2024. You will participate in both the theory sessions and practical sessions at ENSAV La Cambre in Brussels (Belgium). Exact location details will be shared with you after ticket purchase.

Frequently asked questions

  • Which language is the workshop conducted in? The theory and practical sessions are taught in English.
  • Do you have a waiting list? Yes, in case tickets are sold out, you will be shown a link to join a waiting list.
  • What is the difference between the two ticket types? The online ticket is giving you access to the workshop theory only. You will be able to follow the lectures on the 26th of March 2024 from 09:00 to 13:00 via Microsoft Teams. The link will be sent to you after purchasing of the ticket. The in-person ticket allows you to participate in person for both, the theoretical and practical sessions, at ENSAV La Cambre (Brussels) on the 26th of March from 09:00 to 17:00 and on the 27th of March from 09:00 to 14:30. Exact location details will be shared with you after ticket purchase.
  • I have an online ticket, where do I find the link to join the online sessions? You should have received your link after purchasing a ticket. Please check your spam folder or reach out to
  • I have an in-person ticket, what do I need to bring? While we will have some stained samples for you to conduct spot tests on, we strongly recommend to bring your own ceramics.
  • What is the workshop content for both ticket types? For the full content, see the schedule below this FAQ section.
  • My question is not listed here: please do not hesitate to reach out to with any other questions you may have.

WORKSHOP DAY 1 / 26.03.2024

IN-PERSON (09:00-17:00) AND ONLINE (09:00-13:00)

09:00 – 09:45 INTRODUCTION (Caroline Henry and Julia Wagner)

Curator, Caroline Henry, shares insights into the challenges faced at the Musée des Beaux-Arts et de la Céramique in Verviers during and after the floods in 2021. This is followed by an introduction to the project Cultural Heritage in Crisis (CHrisis) and the stain reduction research into efficacy and innocuity of common treatment methods by Julia Wagner (KIK-IRPA).

09:45 – 10:45 LECTURE Ceramics Cleaning Theory (Lauren Fair)

This lecture focuses on cleaning theory at the molecular level and addresses concepts of surface charge, ion exchange, pH, chelation, poulticing, bleaching, and solution concentration.

10:45 – 11:00 TEA BREAK

11:00 – 12:00 LECTURE Materials for Stain Reduction and Application Methods (Lauren Fair)

This lecture introduces the materials we use and those that we will use during the workshop, supported by the previous lecture as to why we use them. It will also discuss considerations for how to mix reagent solutions, how to use each poultice option, and will segue into the hands-on portion of the day.



12:00 – 12:30 QUICK PRACTICUM Spot tests

Apply small spot-test applications of Kaydry tissue dampened with different reagents to each person/group’s test ceramic; results can serve as an indicator for which chelator will likely work best for that ceramic.

12:0013:00 LECTURE Case Studies (Lauren Fair, pre-recorded session)

A presentation of case studies, talking through various challenging stains and differing ways of approaching them.

12:30 – 14:00 LUNCH BREAK

13:0013:30 Live Q&A Session (Lauren Fair)

14:00 – 15:00 PRACTICUM Testing poultices with reagents

Break into groups and have set materials to try out and a general plan of how to go about it. We will first look at the results of the spot tests, which will help inform testing plans.

15:00 – 15:30 DEMONSTRATION Making agarose gel

15:30 – 16:00 TEA BREAK

16:00 – 17:00 CONTINUE PRACTICUM, wrap up for day

WORKSHOP DAY 2 / 27.03.2024

IN-PERSON ONLY (09:00-14:30)


Applied poultices from day prior should be dry; we can remove these and discuss initial observations. Then, follow select areas up with a second poultice (e.g., bleach application) using quick-drying poultices to observe results in the afternoon.

10:30 – 11:00 TEA BREAK

11:00 – 12:00 LECTURE Case Studies (Lauren Fair)

A presentation of case studies, talking through various challenging stains and differing ways of approaching them.

12:00 – 13:30 LUNCH BREAK

13:30 – 14:30 DISCUSSION (Lauren Fair)

Quick-drying bleach poultices can be removed, and we will meet as a group to discuss overall observations and takeaways.

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