Preservation, Conservation - Essential Documentation When Working With Alternative or Unproven Materials
Plant a Seed, Nurture Ideas, Time to Prepare for Blooms and Fruit

Preservation, Conservation - Design for Repair

In this ongoing series about Preservation, Conservation, and Experimentation, I'd like to make a recommendation for all artists and makers  design for repair.

Windows of Memory by Harriete Estel  BermanI am sure everyone would like to think that damage doesn't happen with good care, but 40 years of experience has taught me that accidents do happen, even to the most valuable of items.



Damaged artwork constructed from recycled tin cans Windows of Memory
  Damaged corner of one window. I had to
  completely disassemble the window,
  remake a few parts, repair the pieces
  I couldn't remake, and then put it back

Through the "school of hard knocks," I've also found it far better to anticipate the possibility of damage and not just ignore the possibility.

From the beginning and during your construction, consider how your artwork or craft can be repaired. 
I design my work to be disassembled and keep the instructions and assembly methods in my sketchbooks. Not that I want to repair my work, but when damages do happen, it won't be a total loss. I would rather repair my work myself, instead of letting someone else try to figure it out. I am an expert on my own work. No one can repair it as well as I can.

Damaged artwork documented in the process of making an insurance claim.Keep your records for the materials used or possibly spare parts. Your Inventory Records might include the brand of paint, significant colors, patina, or glazes. Anything that you might need to know about a particular piece or group of work.

I charge for the repair.
Since I do silver repair and restoration, I charge the same hourly rate.  Insurance companies are glad that someone will repair the work, as compared to compensating the owner for the entire artwork.

The document Claims for Damaged Work in the Professional Guidelines will help you with a successful claim if your work is ever damaged.

To help assure the long-term future of your work, design your art or craft for repair and restoration.


This post was updated on February 27, 2023 to provide current links.