Icon Scotland Group presents a new Take 5 webinar, with 5-minute presentations by 5 different conservators about some of their recent projects:
Senses Working Over Time: tactile engagement for written heritage, by Victoria Stevens ACR, Victoria Stevens ACR Library and Archive Conservation and Preservation Ltd.
Written heritage conservation is all about access: taking practical steps that enable people to engage with the information objects contain safely and without risk to them or the objects themselves. As a library and archive conservator, Victoria Stevens has developed a strong appreciation of how much information and knowledge may be gained from touch, sound, smell and sometimes even taste, all of which complement and broaden the written information items contain to form a much deeper appreciation and understanding of an object's history and its previous use.
The Take 5 Engagement programme takes this non-visual information an object has to give as its focus. There are many people who experience barriers to conventional learning, and who may respond more positively and completely to information through senses other than sight and reading alone. Based on fun and accessible workshops, some of which may be delivered online, the Take 5 project uses the material properties of archive and library objects and conservation techniques combined to increase understanding and confidence, provide a sense of personal pride in achievement and break down physical and cultural barriers to learning and inclusion in libraries and archives.
The presentation will set out these aims, demonstrate how and to whom they may be delivered and discuss longer term goals for the project.
Conservation of an Iranian Tile Panel at the National Museums of Scotland, by Holly Daws, National Museums of Scotland.
The talk will detail the ongoing conservation work of a 17th Century tile panel which is planned for display as part of the Arts of Iran exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland. The panel is dated from the Safavid period and is associated with the garden palace Bagh-i Sa'adatabad in Isfahan, Iran. The tile panel is one of the few intact examples from this period in museum collections worldwide.
The tile panel has been in storage since 2008 due to its condition and heavy mounting. Previous restorations have aged, discoloured and are failing. Further to this, areas of original material have been overpainted. The aim of the treatment is to remove the tiles from the existing backing, to improve the appearance and stability of the tiles and to remount on a light support structure.
The talk will briefly outline: Historical context, condition of the panels, the aim of the project, treatment stages so far, and future treatments.
Learn by doing: the casting, finishing and patinating of bronzes, by Heleen van Santen, freelance metal conservator.
The presentation of a collaboration between a conservator, a designer and a bronze foundry, using their different expertises to experiment with the casting, finishing and patination of bronze.
The goal of this project was to learn by doing, building on Heleen van Santen's metallurgical and technical experience as a conservator, the process and aesthetic eye of the designer and the practical know-how of the foundry. This collaboration resulted in an archive of 81 different patinas that will be permanently displayed at the foundry, and a free digital publication to inspire future makers to incorporate patination into their projects. For the field of conservation, learning more about the manufacturing and finishing of cast bronzes can be used to help us better understand cultural heritage objects.
Conservation Live: public engagement from a digital distance, by Lesley Stevenson ACR FIIC, National Galleries of Scotland.
Lesley will outline a conservation project currently underway at the National Galleries of Scotland. Robert Scott Lauder’s Christ Teacheth Humility is being prepared for new displays focussing on Scottish art that are due to open later in 2022. Originally planned to be shared live with visitors, Covid restrictions and the inevitable disruption to the NGS public programme, necessitated a change in direction for this initiative. The transfer of all public engagement to digital platforms resulted in this conservator facing challenges to her outreach and IT skills.
Conditional Confusion: considering variations in language used for object documentation, by Beth Gillions, Centre for Textile Conservation, University of Glasgow.
Documenting object condition can be pivotal to informing conservation treatments, determining object roles, and limiting or enabling object use and display. Yet within the heritage field object condition reports are generated in a variety of ways, by a range of individuals of diverse types and levels of training. This presentation will consider the reasons variations in terminology exist and highlight some preliminary ideas about how this may impact upon our preservation of, and approaches to historic objects.
Director, Victoria Stevens ACR Library and Archive Conservation and Preservation Ltd
Senior Paintings Conservator, National Galleries of Scotland
Director, Victoria Stevens ACR Library and Archive Conservation and Preservation LtdVictoria Stevens is a library and archive conservator Accredited by the Institute of Conservation (Icon). She has worked in written heritage conservation for over 20 years, mainly in the central library and college collections of the University of Oxford but also in local government, museum, educational and religious libraries and archives across the country. She now manages her own UK-wide conservation practice and preservation consultancy from her studio in Reading, UK. She is an assessor for The National Archives Archives Revealed scheme, a Collections Audit assessor for the Collection Audit scheme offered by Association of Independent Museums and a Museum Accreditation assessor for the Arts Council. As well as working on the physical collections, she advises on environmental management, storage and exhibition of archive material and has strong experience of working with archives in museum collections.
Project Assistant Artefact Conservator, National Museums of ScotlandHolly is a conservator specialised in ceramics and glass. She currently is working at the National Museums of Scotland and has previously worked with Plowden and Smith, Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, TO Conservation and Kirsten Ramsay Ceramic Restoration and Conservation. Holly holds an MA in Conservation Studies from West Dean College of Arts and Conservation and has recently returned to the college as a visiting lecturer.
Freelance Metal Conservator,Heleen van Santen (MA, PDRes) is a metal conservator with a strong interest in manufacturing processes. Her work with sculpture, functional objects and scientific instruments has incorporated investigations into patination processes to ensure the preservation of historic finishing layers. Currently she is focusing on incorporating horology and mechanisms into her practice.
Senior Paintings Conservator, National Galleries of ScotlandFollowing her MA undergraduate degree at Glasgow University, Lesley trained in Easel Paintings Conservation at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London graduating in 1993. She then undertook several internship positions at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, Tate and National Trust for Scotland before joining the National Galleries of Scotland in 1998.
MPhil Textile Conservation, University of GlasgowBeth Gillions discovered conservation following many years involved in experimental archaeology, interactive historic displays, and events at a range of heritage sites. Following the achievement of a History BA from King’s College London, Beth embarked on the Textile Conservation MPhil at the University of Glasgow, as it appeared the perfect combination of heritage discourse and practical textile skill. During her final year at the CTC Beth is carrying out dissertation research to establish what language is used to describe the condition of historic objects, the extent to which this terminology varies across disciplines or roles in the heritage sector, and why this may be the case.