In the world of china restoration, the words “restoration” and “conservation” are often used interchangeably. However, there are clear differences between these two terms. Those who are interested in learning the basics of porcelain restoration and other similar techniques should first start with learning what makes conservation different from restoration.
Here are some good basic facts to start with:
What Is Conservation?
When delicate porcelain pieces are sent in for expert conservation, they undergo a process that is different from your typical restoration project. First and foremost, the aim of conservation is to go a step further from restoration. After experts have “fixed” the broken pieces, they add certain elements to conserve the precious China.
The desired result of China conservation is to preserve the pieces for the future. This means that no further damage can be inflicted on the pieces that will diminish their value and quality. It takes the combination of special skills and years of training for a person to become a conservator.
What’s more, a conservator who works on porcelain pieces dedicates their life to the material and will never work on conserving other objects that belong in a different material category. As a whole, conservation is an effort to maintain the original porcelain restoration without risking or compromising its original composition too much.
What Is Restoration?
China restoration is a technique that focuses on fixing the broken pieces to retain its function or maintain its aesthetics. A conservator can accept restoration jobs because these are not as delicate or as strict. The main goal of a restoration project is to return the ceramic pieces to its original look using any means.
Restoration experts can use whatever materials they deem necessary to fix the flaws and successfully hide the damage. Restorers, unlike conservators usually do not undergo any academic training, but start out as an apprentice for a master. They learn the skills they need to properly restore beautiful pieces through hands-on experience.
The process of restoring porcelain back to its former glory can range from simple gluing and bonding the broken pieces together. Other times the restorer will use other, more complicated methods such as glazing and airbrushing to achieve the ultimate goal of restoring its looks. Keep note that the materials used for restoration may not be the same as the original material, but when performed correctly and expertly the differences will not be visible to the naked eye.
Which Is Better?
There is no one answer on which practice is better for your porcelain collection. The decision will depend upon your goals and priorities. If you are planning to preserve the pieces to serves as family heirlooms, conservation will be a better choice. However, if you simply want to bring life back into old and broken China because you like its aesthetics, restoration is more than good enough.
Get a porcelain restoration expert to inspect your beloved collection and they can guide you through the proper conservation and restoration process. Don’t leave your pieces unattended and gathering dust for too long, get them restored sooner rather than later!
Emma Bradshaw is an established porcelain restoration and china restoration studio located at North Essex. Contact us today for more information.