In the article a few days back entitled "Finials in a Billionaire's House", I mentioned that when anything around here gets broken we immediately send if off to a professional conservator.
I've had several inquiries about how to actually find a good conservator. And it's true, these guys are a rare breed and sometimes hard to locate.
In the Yellow Pages in most cities, if you look up "Conservator" all you'll find is "Conservationists", which is a whole different thing.
A "Conservator" is someone who can repair and preserve works of art, buildings and other items of cultural interest. Whereas a "Conservationist" is generally someone caring for the environment or wildlife.
But there are two easy ways to find a good conservator:
- First, you can just go to the nearest museum in your area and ask them who repairs their stuff.
- And second, any good conservator worth his salt is registered with the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. (AIC)
So, if you have a damaged oil painting, a valuable-but-musty book, or a broken vase or figurine, just go to AIC's website.
At the top of the page, on the right, there's a box that says "Find a Conservator". Just click on that, and follow instructions about what you need, and your zip code. And in no time they'll send you information on their registered members closest to your location. (How easy is that?)
But some advice here: if you have a broken vase, for example, then you'll need to get out your magnifying glass and tweezers and pick up every tiny fragment and sliver of that vase, and put them into small envelopes. Then carefully wrap all the larger pieces one by one, and send the whole miserable mess to your favorite conservator.
(But again, if that vase is worth a hundred-thousand-dollars -- you need to find every broken fragment and sliver!)
Art restoration is an interesting and intriguing field. And if I had to do life over, I'm pretty sure I'd enjoy the challenge and satisfaction of this line of work.
Not to mention the high pay!
(Because it's going to cost you a small fortune to have that stupid vase repaired! Ha!)
Hope this has been helpful!