Careful Art: Surgery and Conservation

As an artist who grew up in a scientific household, I recognise the power and possibilities of interdisciplinary working.  I believe that connecting ideas from art, science and humanities is important, because innovation and ideas grow from these intersections.

There are many reasons why I joined VARI.  Bringing different kinds of people and knowledge together, to work on projects, or simply encourage skill and cross-disciplinary knowledge sharing, is certainly a big one.  It’s the future.

So, when a group of Surgical Students from Imperial College came to visit our Paper Conservation studio as part of the Encounters on the Shop Floor project, I grabbed my camera…

Tools of the trade: ICL Surgery Students examine a Paintings Conservator’s scalpel.

A student examines a miniature portrait under the microscope

Students in the Studio.  How many similarities between art conservation and surgery do you think there could be?

Alan Derbyshire, Head of Paintings, Paper and Books Conservation, swaps notes with the students on microscopes and micro-repairs

Students discuss similarities in tools and fine hand skills

Scalpels, scissors, tweezers, all tools that can found in surgery as well as conservation

Jane and Students

Surgery Students with Head Book Conservator, and member of the VARI Leman Album team, Jane Rutherston.

All photographs by Eileen Budd, VARI Project Manager