Conservation and fabrication techniques for restoring marezzo scagliola
Marezzo scagliola is a type of artificial marble made by pulling pigmented skeins of raw silk through a wet mixture of pigmented plaster. This material was a popular architectural material used in prominent public building throughout the United States at the turn of the nineteenth century. Most of the marezzo scagliola found in American buildings today is near or more than 100 years old. While it is by nature a very durable material, the negative effects of temperature, moisture and building evolution have all but destroyed some examples of marezzo scagliola. Unfortunately, the original craft techniques used to fabricate marezzo scagliola were never well documented. Recipes and techniques were usually passed down from father to son or were closely coveted by artisans seeking to hold a monopoly in the market. In the last 20 years, a very small number of conservators working to restore all types of scagliola have begun to document the history of scagliola as well as the techniques used in repair and replication. This thesis will expand upon the small amount of information available by documenting in detail the process used to both fabricate and repair marezzo scagliola.