By Katie Wilde
One day the phone rang in our office. On the other end was a lady with a problem: her treasured teapot had a nasty chip, and she hoped to find a ceramics expert to repair it. She had asked around town and been referred to us, and while we don’t have a teapot-repair department, we were equally interested to know where she could find help to restore a treasured object.
That’s how I met Lloy Osburn. Lloy is a local conservator who specializes in paper and textiles, but through her network of colleagues, the teapot was repaired. I was still curious to know more about art conservation, from someone in our own neighbourhood. I visited her studio, in a heritage building on Woolwich (not far from the Wooly pub) to get a look behind the scenes.
KW: How does one become a conservator?
LO: I began my career working as a laboratory technician in the Veterinary College at the University of Guelph. But since childhood, I had been an avid antique collector and a self-taught artist. In 1986, I heard an interview with the conservator at the Seagram Museum. This led to a new career and pursuit of a lifelong love. It was like a light coming on! Conservation is a compilation of art, antiques and lab work. So, at 38 I went back to school. My classmates were half my age!