We’re huge fans of Jim Henson and the Dark Crystal. One of our studio’s highlights was working with the Museum of the Moving Image on their Jim Henson exhibits. This production-made Dark Crystal Mystic head was with a private collector. The foam skin arrived to us in very good condition especially considering it was made over 35 years ago! With the client, we discussed options and created a plan to focus on conservation rather than restoration.
We’re often asked about the differences between these two basic approaches. Put simply, conservation is about preservation. It’s focusing on maintaining the look of the prop as it is now and helping it better stand up to the hands of time. Our restoration work often starts with a similar approach, but takes things a step further, restoring missing skin, details or paint and bringing the piece closer to how it looked at the time of production.
We started, as we do with all of the props and costumes that come into the studio, by giving the Mystic a careful cleaning. In addition to making things look a bit nicer, it can also help us get a better look at any damaged areas before we begin preservation work.
A custom archival head insert was created for the head, which supports the delicate material and fills out the foam skin. Because it’s made specifically to fit this head, it means that the insert will provide support without putting any additional pressure or stress on the foam latex from the inside. Subtle fabric patches inside the foam add additional support in fragile areas. The foam was sealed several times to slow the drying process and help preserve the piece over time.
Have an original movie or television prop in need of restoration or conservation? Email or call today and let’s discuss your project!