Do you charge for estimates?
Estimates are always free. Every project is different, but I can usually give pretty close estimates once I see a project. It often makes sense to start by emailing digital photos. Then, once I receive a project, I don't start work until a client approves of a conservation plan and price estimate.
If I don't live close by, can I ship you my objects?
Absolutely. But again, let's talk first. I can recommend packing methods and shippers.
How long will the work take?
I try to finish projects within 6 weeks of a client's approval of an estimate.
Do you restore paintings or works on paper?
Not usually. I'm an objects conservator, and easel paintings and works on paper are their own separate specialties. But I can refer good conservators in those areas.
Will getting something restored also restore its value?
It will often restore a large part of the value, but it depends on the original value of the object and the extent of the damage. An appraiser will be able to tell you more about the relative value of an object.
What's the difference between conservation and restoration?
Art conservation is the science of how to prevent and reverse the deterioration of materials used to make artwork. Restoration adds material to the original work for cosmetic purposes. A conservator's treatment of a single object almost always involves a combination of both conservation (by arresting and preventing further damage), and restoration (by bringing the appearance of a work closer to that intended by the artist).
What is preventive conservation?
Now that conservators understand the long-term effects of humidity, light, acidic environments, biological contaminants, and other corrosive elements, we know how to store, display, and care for artwork before it begins to break down. Professional packing can also help avoid the need for future conservation. Contact me if you're looking for advice on how to store or care for something -- from a specific material to a whole collection.
What are the most important environmental factors to control to avoid problems with my collection?
Relative humidity and light are usually the biggest factors that cause destabilization of artwork. Different materials survive best at different humidity levels, but if your collection contains a lot of different kinds of materials, a good compromise is 50% relative humidity at 70° F.
The shortest light wavelengths are the ones that cause the most damage, so UV filtering glass and materials can help. But other light waves in the visible spectrum are also damaging, so especially for organic materials, the best thing you can do for your collection is often to turn down the lights. Contact me for more information on measuring light, and for more specific advice about humidity and light levels.
How should I clean my art objects?
Carefully, and as infrequently as you can stand. I see a lot of things damaged from improper cleaning and over-cleaning. If you're unsure how to proceed, you probably should leave it to a conservator. But if you're going to try to clean something, contact me first. The material dictates the cleaning method, and I can give you concrete advice.