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Head of Ceramics and Glass Conservation

We asked the Head of Ceramics and Glass Conservation at National Museums Liverpool why and how they become a conservator

conservator holding the lid of a ceramic pot

"I began training as a conservator in 2002 after a twenty year career as a hairdresser. My ambition had always been to do an arts degree and whilst completing an arts foundation course in London I became aware of conservation as a profession. My passion for fine and decorative art and my love of rescuing old objects combined, led me to choose conservation as a career.

Throughout my three year BA degree course in Objects Conservation - which was undertaken at City and Guilds of London Art School - I had the opportunity to carry out work experience in various conservation institutions around the country, including National Museums Liverpool. Working on a multitude of materials, learning the various decorative and technical techniques and the science behind these, gave me the skills to recognise object related issues conservators are likely to encounter.

On completing my degree I took up employment with the British Museum, working in the Stone, Mosaics and Wall Paintings conservation department. I was eager to continue developing my skills and had become passionate about ceramics and glass, so when the opportunity arose to take up a one year internship at National Museums Wales, Cardiff, to train in ceramics conservation, I took it. Whilst in Cardiff I gained experience working on their vast ceramics collection ranging from historic European to contemporary British.

On completion of the internship in Cardiff I was offered a one year Diploma in conservation of Ceramics and Related Objects at West Dean College, Sussex. At West Dean not only were we taught how to conserve/restore ceramic material, we were also taught how to make ceramics, giving a better understanding of the types of ceramic and structural issues often associated with ceramic material.

Following the diploma I returned to work at the British Museum where amongst other things I was involved in the conservation of medieval ceramics for the new Medieval Gallery, I was also involved in the conservation of the Percival David Collection - the largest and most important collection of Chinese ceramics outside of China - in preparation for the Percival David Gallery.

I grew up in Liverpool and am passionate about the history of the city and its historic collections, so took the opportunity to apply for the post of Head of Ceramics and Glass Conservation, when it arose. Since working for National Museums Liverpool, I've worked on a large range of ceramic objects including Chinese porcelain from the Lady Lever collection and objects from the decorative arts, social history and archaeological collections in preparation for the new Museum of Liverpool."