Saturday, March 19, 2016

What is a conservator?

As a maker and restorer of wooden artifacts I truly enjoy reading publications like  Mortise and Tenon Magazine. Every article is engaging and informative. The issue leaves me yearning for Issue 2.
One of my favorite excerpts from Issue 1 comes from Martin O'Brien. Martin who is a dear friend, mentor, and one of the best best conservators I know. The willingness Martin has to share information and educate is simply unheard of.  I have been blessed knowing two other conservators who are this kind and are worthy of mentioning since they may read this blog, Sir Don Wiliams and Mrs. Chris Thomson.


What is a "Conservator"?

"The labels conservator, restorer, Refinishers, etc. have caused confusion among consumers of our services and divisiveness within the trade. To add to the dialogue and hopefully not muddy the waters, I'd like to say that I believe a conservator is someone who thoughtfully balances the needs of the object with long-term maintainability of thier treatments. Why an object needs treatment to begin with is the first question anyone who fixes things should ask. Knowing that you will not be the last person to treat an object should force you to consider hi to make the next conservator's work easier.

I believe conservation is more a mindset than its prestigious trading program and that this mindset should be driven by a passion for studying a wide range of topics in order to have a comprehensive understanding of how and why our material culture was created and how to best preserve it. I say this not disparage those with degrees, but to rather encourage those wanting to enter the career of 'fixing things 'who may not have the opportunity to attend a full-time program, but have the attitude/aptitude for learning primarily on their own. With that said, I do Believe that it's important to work alongside experienced practitioners whenever possible and that at least some formal education (even a week aling seminar) is vitally important to anyone who wants to do this work well."

Marin O' Brien

Thank you Martin! I truly believed when reading this excerpt that Martin was describing me. Thank you to Martin and everyone from the Professional Refinisher's Group other wise known as GROOP. My past 3 years would not have been so successful if it wasn't for you.

I believe what Martin shared with is true and I'm happy to mention several other outstanding world renown conservators have expressed similar opinions. In the end this leaves me with hope.

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