Philosophy and Purpose
West Lake Conservators is dedicated to bringing the highest quality, skilled care to the conservation of paintings, textiles and works of art on paper and their original frames. Our commitment is to be the best at what we do. To this end, countless hours in training, research, seminars, conferences, and work exchanges have been, and continue to be, spent with other professional conservators from across the United States and around the world. Our studies have taken us as far away as The National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia and as close to home as The John D. Barrow Art Gallery in downtown Skaneateles.
Two fundamental principles are at the core of the business founded by Chief Conservator Susan S. Blakney in 1975. The first of these is that when it comes to proposing any treatment, two or more heads are better than one – in other words a system of checks and balances and rechecks should be in place. A small group of conservators working together has the ability to complement and constructively criticize each other’s work, ensuring a consistently high quality, professional treatment for every job. Not even the smallest or most seemingly insignificant repair goes through the lab without scrutiny by more than one conservator.
The second principle guiding West Lake Conservators is the belief that conservation should be a mix of traditional and modern methods and materials. To this end, all conservators are trained in traditionally accepted skills and techniques. All of us are constantly comparing these methods to new procedures and materials being presented to the profession through the American Institute for Conservation and the Canadian Conservation Institute for Conservation. Our staff routinely attends professional seminars, AIC, IIC and museum related conventions, and mid-career refresher courses ranging from adhesives and lining techniques to gilding and frame repair courses.
Alternatively, West Lake Conservators contributes to the field by presenting papers and poster sessions at AIC Conventions and we have backed fundamental research in cold lining techniques (ref. D. Falvey). West Lake Conservators’ staff members have arranged, sponsored, hosted, and presented numerous workshops and lectures promoting the art and science of conservation.