Figure 4 Harriet and Jane in the process of documentation

Part I: ‘Though she be but little, she is fierce!’ —William Shakespeare

By Mary T. Vigliotti My journey with this object started before it arrived on my workbench. A few months prior to receiving the archaeological dish, the 1st year students of the Ceramics and Related Materials Department at West Dean College spent a week as volunteers at the Study Centre at Fishbourne Roman Palace. The Study … Continue reading


Historical Binding Model: 1756 Italian Binding

by Snow Fain One of our projects this year was to copy a historical binding of our choice. For this exercise, I decided to complete a binding from the Newberry Library collection in Chicago, Illinois. The book was published in 1756 in Livorno, Italy. To start, let’s look at the binding of interest. The title of … Continue reading

Figure 16: The completed lid after treatment.

Treatment on a Chinese Export Porcelain ‘Soldier’ Vase and Lid, Part II

By Harriet Sylvester Back in March 2015, I wrote a blog post about the treatment of a Chinese export porcelain blue and white soldier vase and lid from the Kangxi Period. I am now extremely pleased to post the sequel to show you the completed project. During treatment, a time record sheet and a description … Continue reading

Grad 2

Graduation 2015

Graduation was July 11, and in the week leading up to it all the conservation students put their work out for viewing by colleagues & clients, family & friends, and trustees & staff of the college. The furniture workshop is only this clean once a year!! Below are a selection of photos from the week … Continue reading

Drawings of Australian Aboriginals undergoing conservation treatment for an upcoming exhibition by Megumi Mizumura.

Adapt & Evolve

By Ong Fang Zheng ICON Book & Paper Group organised the conference Adapt & Evolve 2015: East Asian Materials and Techniques in Western Conservation in London earlier on in April, and I was all charged up to learn new things and meet new people! The event kickstarted with studio tours from museums, archives, to private … Continue reading


‘The Thinker’ Casting Using RTV Silicone Mould

By Kaori Arakaki Casting is one of our projects in the metalwork conservation department and we have been making room temperature vulcanized (RTV) silicone moulds, sand casts and lost wax casts. This post is about a casting side project using RTV silicone. Each casting method is used for different purposes. RTV silicone moulds are usually … Continue reading

A books student shows us the manuscript she’s focusing on for her thesis.


By Roger Williams On the trip’s fourth day (see parts I and II), we stumbled—beaten and broken by long days of walking around Paris—to a West Dean sister school of sorts: L’Institut national du patrimoine: Département des restaurateurs, in Aubervilliers (Translation: the National Institute of Cultural Heritage: Conservation Department). The INP has two main departments, … Continue reading


Tensile Testing of Leather

By Avery Bazemore In our first semester, we are meant to design and carry out an experiment using our materials testing equipment. I immediately thought of a quote from the well-regarded researcher Betty Haines in the well-regarded book The Fibre Structure of Leather that claims that when “the thickness [of a piece of goatskin] had … Continue reading


Book students in Paris – Day 2: Private Practice

By Jess Hyslop On our second day of the Paris Study Tour, we bookies turned our attention from public institutions to private practice. We visited two private studios during the day, where the conservators were very patient in letting us poke around and answering all of our questions. The first studio we visited was ‘Ex … Continue reading

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Raising a Lidded Vessel

By Esmé Tanner If you haven’t already heard the metals department and our noisy silversmithing attempts then here is a quick reminder. Starting with a large copper disk we have been annealing, pickling, caulking, bougeing and planishing to raise a lidded vessel in the style of the Mérode cup, which is currently in collection at … Continue reading


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