WAG Rag - February 2024 Edition

By Olav Bjornerud posted 02-29-2024 16:56


WAG Rag Issue 3 


Welcome to the third issue of WAG Rag! Let’s get straight to it: 

We are seeking an Assistant Program Chair! 

This two-year position begins after the Annual Meeting. In the first year, you will help next year’s Program Chair, Caroline Shaver, with organizing the WAG session(s) and reception at the 2025 Annual Meeting in Minneapolis. In the second year you will graduate to become the Program Chair, organizing the programming for the 2026 Annual Meeting in Montreal. This is an excellent opportunity to get involved with the wonderful Wooden Artifacts Group and to make your mark on WAG programming – coming up with session themes, selecting abstracts and picking an appropriate watering hole for the reception. Apply here, or if you would like to discuss, drop me an email.  

WAG Online Events coming soon 

We have been working hard to organize some online events for you! Our first event, on April 25th, will be a talk by renowned furniture historian Dr Adam Bowett: “Exotic Woods and the Growth of Empire, 1600-1900". Bowett will explore how British colonial and commercial policy and competition with other colonial powers shaped the availability of exotic woods to furniture makers. Trade with North America, especially the development of timber imports from Canada and the United States in the 19th century, will also be considered. If you have read Bowett’s book on woods in British furniture making, you already know what a superb researcher he is. Truly the authority on this subject. 

A bit more about Bowett: Dr Adam Bowett is an independent furniture historian and chairman of the Chippendale Society. Since 1992 he has also worked as an advisor on historic English furniture to public institutions and private clients in both Britain and North America. The former include: The National Trust, English Heritage, Arts Council England, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Strawberry Hill Trust, the Wallace Collection and numerous British regional museums. He lectures widely and teaches furniture history at the Victoria and Albert Museum, West Dean College and the University of Buckingham. He publishes in both popular and academic journals and is the author of seven books on English furniture and furniture-making. 

On June 10th, Geoffrey Killen will speak on "Ancient Egyptian Woodworking and the techniques and tools used by Egyptian carpenters”. We are hoping to host future sessions on the shimbari technique and working with warp in the future. Elly (our Online Events Coordinator) is also working on a series aimed at ECPs where attendees will be able to explore treatment case studies with more seasoned conservators – not the fancy journal-worthy type, but the sort that come across our benches every day.  

These events will be offered free to WAG members.  If you have ideas for future events, please contact Elly ( or me. Perhaps there is a speaker you would like to hear from, a technique you want to know more about, or maybe you’d like to host a discussion? 

Events Round-Up - US 

Southeast Regional Conservation Association, Jackson, MS (in-person) 

The meeting will explore gilding and gilded materials. As well as lectures and demonstrations, there will be a hands-on Saturday workshop to include various methods of infilling of gilded loss, learning how to gild on paper, and verre églomisé. Presentations from SERCA members on the treatment of gilded materials will also be a part of the meeting, as well as a tips and tricks session. 

Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, Atlanta, GA (in-person) 

Registration open 

Celebrating the decorative arts of Atlanta and Georgia’s Lower Southern Piedmont, the conference will offer an unparalleled opportunity to get behind-the-scenes looks of local sites, exhibits, rarely-viewed private collections and homes, while lectures will provide the latest in decorative arts and material culture research. 

Yale West Campus Building 900 (Collections Study Center), Orange, CT (in-person) 

Registration open 

David Lindow presents a brief history of the rose engine lathe at the Yale’s Leslie P. and George H. Hume American Furniture Study Center. The lecture will be followed by a demonstration of complex ornamental turning and a discussion of objects in the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery that were decorated using this technique. 

  • A presentation and Q&A with Adam Bowett: Exotic Woods and the Growth of Empire, 1600-1900 (April 25, 12-1pm EST) 

Hosted online by WAG (mark your calendars – information on how to register coming to your inbox soon)

See above for more information 

  • A presentation and Q&A with Geoffrey Killen: Ancient Egyptian Woodworking and the Techniques and Tools Used by Egyptian carpenters (June 10, 12-1pm EST) 

Hosted online by WAG (mark your calendars - more details coming to your inbox soon) 

Events Round-UpInternational 

A lecture hosted online by the Furniture History Society  

Stephen Jackson, Senior Curator of Furniture and Woodwork at National Museums Scotland for over twenty years, will speak about a range of new discoveries, and the challenges in writing his soon-to-be-published book on Scottish Furniture. 

A discussion hosted online by ICON Textile Group 

Nancy Britton (Conservator Emerita of Upholstery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art) and Robin Hansen (Textile Conservator at Cleveland Museum of Art) will discuss a multiyear collaboration between the two museums to conserve and reinterpret their respective pieces of Hope furniture. After the lecture, Isabella Rossi will share the outcome of the recent ICON Textile Group Upholstery Survey, to which some of you may have responded. 

Amsterdam (in-person)

The symposium aims to explore conservation practices of religious and sacred objects and buildings, including the ethical considerations and the challenges met in relation to this practice. 

Art Gallery of Ontario, Ontario (in person) 

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) will host a two-day conference on the history and conservation of picture frames. The symposium will present current research that contextualizes frames, including research on frame makers, framing traditions, frames’ afterlives, frame collections, pairings of frames to paintings, artists’ frames, the commercial history of framing, and related topics. Keynote lectures will be delivered by Lynn Roberts, acclaimed frame historian and publisher of The Frame Blog, and Hubert Baija, recently-retired longtime conservator of frames at the Rijksmuseum.  


Application deadline 11:59pm March 1, 2024 

North Bennet Street School, Boston, MA (in person) 

With full tuition, free housing, and a travel and living stipend, this two-week woodworking program will provide emerging conservators who identify as historically marginalized from the fields of woodworking and/or art conservation with the knowledge and confidence to apply woodworking skills to augment conservation benchwork applications across a variety of specialties. A solid foundation in the most essential woodworking skills will be developed through various exercises and the completion of a small woodworking project.

Beloit College, Beloit, WI (in person) 

Register for this 5-day gilding conservation course led by Hubert Baija by March 31, 2024 for the “early bird” discount. 


The Preservation Society of Newport County, Newport, RI 

Applications reviewed on a rolling basis, interviews begin March 15, 2024 

The Fellow will work closely with both the Chief Curator and Conservation Department in support of the treatment of A. H. Davenport and Company (1845-1905) furniture selected by American architect and interior decorator, Ogden Codman Jr. (1863-1951), for Vanderbilt family on the third floor of The Breakers (1895). The Fellow will collaborate with an interdisciplinary team to present these rooms as part of a new tour experience. 

Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth, UK 

Conservation interns will work on a variety of conservation tasks on the Mary Rose hull including cleaning the hull and monitoring crack markers. Interns will also participate in collection audits, support IPM activities and have the opportunity to work on an independent project. 


Best wishes, 


Cathy Silverman 
WAG Chair 
Associate Conservator of Furniture and Objects 
Yale University Art Gallery