Articles At A Glance
TIPS FOR FINDING AN ANTIQUES RESTORATION EXPERT
As seen in The Antique Shoppe Newspaper, February 2009
There are plenty of ads offering to restore, repair or conserve antiques and fine art. The trick is to turn up the experienced craftsmen to do the job. Being realistic, not many men and women these days are willing to spend sometimes years to learn this craft. When you do find a true conservator/restorer it can be expensive. Before making a decision find out the replaceable value of the object you want restored. You may discover the restoration costs more than the item is worth. Since many of the experts are in other states than yours, consider shipping costs.
CLUES: There are several ways to begin your search. Ask your local museum who they use for conservation of fine art, china and other objects. Or, ask your insurance agent whom they recommend. Word of mouth recommendations are another way. Contact a quality antiques dealer or art gallery for their lists.
When you contact the restorer ask for credentials; memberships and professional
affiliations, years of experience and photo examples of the work.
Word of mouth led me to George Schwartz, Director and Senior Conservator of ConservArt Inc., in Boca Raton, Florida. His expertise covers many categories but his specialties are conservation of paintings and antique frames. However my problem was a badly damaged 18th century Venetian mirror. Schwartz, who has been active as a conservator in private practice since 1963, pointed out that while other so-called glass conservators might use plastic molds, he would be making glass molds of the damaged pieces. And, the project would take several months. While expensive, the result was amazing. I couldn’t tell the new from the old replacements. I also poured through his before and after photos of rare oil paintings, carved frames and wood sculptures. He has many memberships and professional affiliations including being a professional associate member of The American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works (AIC)
My next search for a specialist glass restorer led me to the internet where I discovered Nelson Dale, proprietor of Restoration Services in Arlington, Massachusetts, just outside Boston. He has spent more than fifteen years and developed a variety of techniques and materials. Among his clients are The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York. They also do invisible repair of ceramics and Oriental lacquer, cameo glass and Handel Shades, to mention a few.
In Glenview, Illinois, just outside of Chicago, I found Gerlinde Kornmesser who restores ceramics, and began her career in Austria. She has been doing restoration for 17 years in America , in her Porcelain Restoration Workshop. For the last 10 years she has been teaching a one week summer class at the Campus of Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. Among the things students learn are removing stains, undoing old repairs and replacing missing parts.
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