Skip to Main Content
Sign In
Visit Apply Give

News The work of emerging conservation professionals

Image Picker for Section 0

​WUDPAC Fellow Caite Sofield during the installation of new fabric in the galleries of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (Photo by Jason Wierzbicki; courtesy of the PMA.)

​​To promote awareness and a clearer understanding of different pathways into specializations that require particular training, the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) has been conducting a series of interviews with conservation professionals in various specialties. In their first interview from a series focused on members of AIC's Wooden Artifacts Group (WAG), they spoke with Caite Sofield, a third year fellow in the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation (WUDPAC).

ECPN: How were you first introduced to conservation, and why did you decide to pursue conservation?

CS: My first introduction to conservation was during an undergraduate internship in London at the Leighton House Museum. Organized through the Art History Department of Ithaca College, my internship was divided between assisting the Curator of Collections and Research and working with a Conservation Cleaner in the Linley Sanbourne House, a historic property also managed by LHM.  I found this work dynamic and compelling, and was surprised to discover that I learned as much (if not more) about history from working in the house and on the objects than I did in my associated art history course. I was so excited to connect with history in this tangible way, and I knew that I wanted to seek similar experiences in the future.

ECPN: Of all specializations, what contributed to your decision to pursue furniture conservation?

CS: Furniture conservation appealed to me because furniture, as a subsection of decorative arts, can include a wide variety of materials, and there is a wonderful overlap between architecture, textiles, and objects. I love seeing the way the intended function of an object affects its design and how that changes over time. I am particularly fond of the forms that are highly specific and representative of a small window in time, like the voyeuse of the 18th century and the telephone table of the 20th century.

ECPN: Are there any particular skills that you feel are important or unique to your discipline? Can one solely be a ‘wooden artifact conservator,’ or is knowledge of composites and how to treat other materials inherent to the work?

CS: Knowledge of wood science and woodworking skills are hugely important to furniture conservation, as wood is the predominant material you will come across on a day-to-day basis.  I suppose one could solely be a ‘wooden artifact conservator’ if the collection needs supported it, but I am really interested in furniture more broadly, and for that, you need to have a working knowledge of other materials and surface techniques (ie: gilding, metals, leather and other organics, and stone). Because of the diverse materials a furniture conservator can encounter, I have actively sought out institutions with encyclopedic collections or projects that may indirectly relate to furniture to broaden my exposure.

To read the full interview, and to access ECPN interviews from emerging conservators working in other specialities, click here.

News Story Supporting Images and Text
Used in the Home Page News Listing and for the News Rollup Page
A blog series from AIC's Emerging Conservation Professionals Network recently featured WUDPAC Fellow Caite Sofield and her work in wooden artifacts conservation.

​A blog series from AIC's Emerging Conservation Professionals Network recently featured WUDPAC Fellow Caite Sofield and her work in wooden artifacts conservation.

6/8/2018
Page Settings and MetaData:
(Not Shown on the Page)
Page Settings
The work of emerging conservation professionals
 
No
 
 
MetaData for Search Engine Optimization
The work of emerging conservation professionals
 
  • The Department of Art Conservation
  • 303 Old College
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-3489
  • art-conservation@udel.edu