Conservation improves the current condition and safeguards your art, documents, or collection against future damage.
One of the most frequent requests I get is to repair damaged works. Here are some of the most common issues.
Tears and losses in the paper
Acidic and deteriorated paper
Planar distortions, curling, and cockling
Flaking paint and media losses
I can help you understand and record the state of your collections, be they small or large. Surveys can have various areas of focus.
An entire collection
Site-wide, including preservation policies, facilities, and collections
An effective way to avoid future damage is preventative care. These are some commonly requested preservation measures.
Preventative care advice
Recommendations for handling, packing, and transit
Custom archival (re)housing
Emergency planning and response for collections
Courier services for loans
Collections care training for organization staff and volunteers
Information about the physical state of your work can direct a work's future care. Here are some types of assessments.
Examination and media identification
Written and photographic documentation of condition, known as condition reports
Conservation documentation for exhibitions, loans, and insurance
Condition assessments prior to purchase
A short glossary of conservation terminology can be found here.
Working With a Conservator
Working with a conservator is new for many people. Here is how you can expect the process to unfold.
Contact Melissa with details about your artifact or project. Images are useful to include for assessing treatment projects.
Schedule a Consultation
Schedule an in person, virtual, or phone consultation. For treatment, artifacts also need to be transported to the studio for examination and testing.
Approve the Proposal
Approve the written treatment proposal or scope of services and the estimate. This ensures you know what will be happening and what to expect once the work is complete.
Can my artwork or document be restored?
I get this one a lot. The only way to tell for sure is to examine it in person. I can sometimes identify a recommended treatment through pictures alone. If you’re interested, please contact me by email or use this form to schedule an initial consultation. Include images if possible.
What is involved in treatment?
For minor treatments not requiring testing, I will examine the work, recommend a treatment, and provide an estimate all at the initial consultation. For major treatments, I will first examine the work and conduct relevant testing. You then receive a recommendation for treatment, expected outcomes, and an estimate. With your written approval, treatments are put in the treatment queue. For larger projects, I also require receipt of a deposit. Written conservation documentation detailing the work’s condition and treatment are provided for all treatments.
How long will a treatment take?
Treatments usually take a few weeks to several months to complete, once begun. Treatment time varies depending on the size and complexity of the work, as well as the current studio workload. Expedited treatment service may be available for an additional fee and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
How much will a treatment cost?
Treatment costs can start at several hundred dollars, and depending on the nature and complexity of the treatment solution can range to thousands of dollars per work. Stabilization treatments and preservation measures are often the lower cost options and are an effective way to safeguard your work. Full conservation treatment costs more and often addresses more aesthetic concerns. If you would like to request a preliminary estimate, please contact me by email or use this form. Include images if possible.
Where are you located?
My studio is located in the Swansea neighbourhood of Toronto’s West End. It is easily accessible from the Gardiner Expressway and off-street parking is available. For security reasons, a specific address is not shared until we have agreed to meet in person.
Can you authenticate or provide an appraisal for my work?
I do not provide authentications or appraisals. This presents a conflict of interest since a conservator’s treatment may change the value of the work. If you are concerned about monetary value, I suggest having the work appraised before treatment. To find an appraiser visit the International Society of Appraisers Canadian Chapter.
Do you do framing?
I do not provide framing services, but I can re-frame a work in an existing frame after treatment and in cases where this will not harm the work. In this case the frame package may need to be fitted with new matting, backings, or glazing. If new framing is needed, I can refer you to a conservation framer.