Is It Possible to Restore Antique Icon on Your Own?
Thinking about the antique icon restoration on your own? Just stop! First of all, without certain skills and experience, you simply cannot restore it yourself, or chances are you will destroy your precious piece of religious icon art. Second, if, for any reason, you don’t want or cannot hire a professional restorer, the best you can do in such a situation is leave it for better times in proper storage conditions. Last, you can always consider the conservation procedures. It is actually an ideal option for antique icon preservation, as conservation slows down the rate of its deterioration.
Conservation usually includes the chemical and physical stabilization by different means of treatments intended to preserve the antique icon in its original condition for as long as possible. Since this process involves fewer steps than the restoration, it is usually much more affordable and cost-effective. What is more important, it makes the aging and altering processes far less rapid and intense, which means that you can order professional restoration services later, when you have such an opportunity or need.
Why can’t you restore your antique icon yourself? Restoration is a very time-consuming process that requires all of your time; it is completely unacceptable to engage in it as a hobby. Whether it comes to the removal of the darkened layer of varnish and layers of grime, consolidation of the paint layer, or anything in between, the most important restoration rule is not to harm the icon. The truth is that professional restorers are a lot like skilled doctors – both have to be born for their jobs. After all, a restorer bears great responsibility for everything they do with antique icons, many of which are unique masterpieces of religious icon art. Furthermore, since there are no two identical hand-painted icons, there are no two identical methods of working. Each piece requires individual approach and treatment. In this way, if you still want to restore antique icons on your own, then you should start with art restoration and conservation graduate programs and schools.
Another thing to consider is that if you want to slow down the rate of deterioration, it is very important to create proper storage conditions for your antique icon. For example, the temperature level should be between 15 – 22ºC (60 – 72ºF), and the humidity level – around 50-60%. In other words, never store any of your religious icon paintings next to the heater and avoid direct sunlight or extreme fluctuation of temperature and humidity. Keep in mind that hand-painted icons are made with the use of natural materials (e.g. wood, linen canvas, egg yolk, linseed oil, etc.), which are subject to various disruptions. This is exactly the reason why to create proper storage conditions is crucial. The safety of your antique icon largely depends on you! Anyway, if you have any questions regarding professional restoration and conservation, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.