My brother Greg owns Greg Kelley Conservation Services. He works with old wood – primarily antique furniture. He does not do restoration. Instead he does meticulous repairs on old wooden objects and keeps them looking their age. And that is conservation.
I always thought that our practices were quite different. He saws. I draw. He uses fish glue, clamps and wood. I use canvas, gesso and paint. But sometimes we share the same materials, tools and language. And that is what has happened recently.
Greg needed some help in his workshop. Originally he thought to hire another conservator. As it turns out, an artist with materials knowledge and a sense of detail and humour was what he needed.
So now I work at my brother’s workshop three days a week. And now in addition to gesso and paint, I use fish glue, clamps and wood. And it’s fun!