what to read

Moving To A New Space!

I’m pleased to announce that in mid-January I will be moving the paper conservation lab to the wonderful space above Western Center for Conservation of Fine Art (WCCFA) on Santa Fe Drive in Denver, in the Santa Fe Art District.  For those following the history of conservation in Denver, that’s Eileen Clancy’s old space.

I’m looking forward to working in the same building with the paintings conservators and staff of such a well-respected organization –  fun and interesting folks to boot!  The large sink, fume exhaust system and other features will allow me to work much more efficiently, providing a broader level of care for your works of art on paper and historic documents.    I’ll look forward to seeing you there – although please keep in mind that due to security measures, you’ll need to call ahead to set an appointment.  My new phone number is 720-295-2384 or you can email me at bethlhell at gmail dot com.

Uncategorized, what we do

Sometimes The Paper Talks To You

I  like the meditation of working silently focused on a document, finding the right texture of paper for a fill, fiddling around with acrylic paints to tone it the right color, creating a tiny beveled edge and pasting the mend in so it fits just so.  Often, I am looking and thinking so much about the paper fibers, the way the pigment is laid onto the weave, the way the tear is broken, that I don’t really notice what the art portrays, or what the document says.

Sometimes, the work is going smoothly and I allow my mind to wander a bit.  Today was such a day, and when I found myself remembering a bunch of Yiddish words, turning them over in my mind, I was a bit puzzled. I haven’t heard Yiddish spoken since I was a teenager.  No one in my life now speaks Yiddish, but there they were: “Hey, schmendrick, what are you doing?  Are you meshugana?  What’s this mishegas?”  (Translation: Hey, moron…are you nuts?  What’s this craziness? – I’m not sure why my inner Yid is so insulting…)

Then I realized.  I am working on a Ketuba.  A Jewish marriage certificate.  Aha! The subject matter creeps in, even when you think you aren’t paying attention.  I spend a few minutes thinking about family long gone, and turn back to the mending.

what we do

Getting Closer Every Day!

Things seem to fit, miraculously

Originally uploaded by tapescraper

The transformation of garage to conservation studio is almost complete – a little more paint, putting up shelves and (my favorite) putting things on them, heat, light, alarm….and soon, the Colorado home of Beth Heller Conservation will be ready for action.  I can hardly wait!

Camilla Van Vooren recently visited the AAC to do a painting conservation estimate and I felt such longing when she unpacked her bag full of hand tools and solvents. I miss my microspatula. I miss my tiny bone folder that fits my hand just so.  I am SO looking forward to washing things, scraping things, flattening things, mending things – all the stuff of paper conservation, book conservation.  I am hopeful that January 2010 is blast off.   Stay tuned!