Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Final Reward

I often think that I could have gone into the medical field. I might have been a plastic surgeon or a "bone doctor" for example. As a plastic surgeon, my job would have been to repair cosmetic damage in such a way that it was not obvious anything was done. As a bone doctor, my job would have been to repair complicated broken bones so that the person was made whole again. Either way, I would have had a lot more stress, and more money by this time.

By my estimate, I have restored over 10,000 objects in my career. I think that may be conservative, but I only really count the larger projects. Like the baby doctor who has delivered hundreds of babies into the world, it is hard to remember all of them. Each one is special and unique at the time of delivery, but the next day there is another job to do, "and so it goes."

Here are two photos of jobs we just completed this week. The first is the chair, which I did for my own pleasure (ie: I was the client) (in other words: no money). The second is the mirror which Patrice did as his first gold leaf project.

The chair project was very rewarding. I was able to completely conserve all the original materials which were in the upholstery, and I had a piece of fabric and some trim which was perfect for the job. You will note the work I did on this chair in earlier posts. The fact that this chair was found in the trash and on its way to the dump in a pickup truck when I got it is even more satisfying. One of the most important reasons I am in this profession is to save (recycle) important cultural artifacts from the past which would otherwise be lost forever. This chair is now ready for the next century of use, and I trust that, when it is dirty, broken and torn, a person who appreciates it will take the time to put it back together.

The mirror is also very exciting. Patrice worked very hard on it, and it was a difficult first project due to its Rococo carving and condition. He added gold leaf to the entire frame (again I refer to earlier posts) and created a patina which the client desired. We both spent some time discussing whether the patina was enough or too much or not enough. The client was very pleased at the result and Patrice should be complimented for his effort. I told him that, without him, I would never tackle such a job.

All I did for this project was clean the mirror.

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