Restorer, Furniture and Wood Carvings
Furniture conservators or restorers are involved in the preservation and restoration of antique and modern furniture by using practical and scientific restoration techniques. They also advise on the storage and protection of the furniture.
The relationship between conservation and restoration is complex and depends on the purpose and utility of the piece. Conservation involves ensuring that items retain their original features; restoration may involve the use of new materials to protect and update existing features.
Furniture conservators or restorers may specialise in a particular type or period of furniture. There is scope to work in museums or in a private business, or be self-employed. Self-employed conservators must also manage their own marketing, financial and business activities. They may go on to work in the antiques sector and/or work in a consultancy role.
- Liaising with clients to discuss and agree on the conservation and/or restoration of a piece of furniture;
- Communicating with the client about the sometimes complex treatment processes involved;
- Observing and assessing the state of a piece of furniture to decide on the best way to restore or conserve it;
- Combining specialist knowledge of furniture with practical techniques in order to prolong and protect the survival of a piece of furniture;
- Taking photographs of pieces of furniture and their components and maintaining detailed records of their condition and special features before and after work is carried out;
- Providing photographs and other records for clients when work is complete;
- Working closely with a range of materials and equipment in precise and detailed ways during the conservation and restoration process;
- Applying preventative measures in relation to environmental, biological and human conditions, in order to protect and preserve furniture;
- Sourcing materials for use in the conservation and restoration process
Key skills for restorer:
- Enquiring and flexible mind.
- Ability to work with your hands.
- Considerable patience.
- Excellent attention to detail combined with excellent observational skills.
- Ability to combine scientific understanding with artistic/aesthetic/historical appreciation.
- Enthusiasm for working with art or heritage items.
- Commitment to ongoing learning and development as demanded by the continuing professional development schemes that are integral to maintaining accredited status.
Average salary (2013):
The United Kingdom: £20,000 to around £40,000 a year
The United States of America: $58,690 per year
Australia: AU$90,012 per year
Qualifications and training required:
Conservators/restorers usually need a degree or postgraduate qualification. Those working in a technical capacity require appropriate skills, perhaps acquired through a placement scheme at a museum or private studio.
A wide range of degrees in humanities, such as history of art, and science, especially chemistry, are relevant. There are also specific degrees and postgraduate qualifications in conservation. For postgraduate conservation courses, candidates usually need a relevant degree, for example in a science subject, fine art or history of art. Postgraduate courses usually last for one year and lead to a diploma or Masters degree.
The Diploma will give you the knowledge and skills that you will need for college, university or work in an exciting, creative and enjoyable way.
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