Guest Author: Ségolène Girard

I was very pleased to make the acquaintance of a talented french conservation student, Ségolène Girard. Like minded in many ways and dedicated to her craft, she has agreed to be a regular member of the blog doing guest posts on her fascinating restoration projects. 

Hi I am Ségolène, sounds French non?

I am a paper conservator in Versailles, France. I got my Masters in paper conservation in 2016 in Paris, and as I did not get enough of five years of studies, I chose to develop the scientific study I started during my dissertation for one year afterwards.

I hesitated for a while to be a paintings conservator, but the paper support really caught my heart. Paper and parchment conservator beforehand, my interest was from the beginning the challenge that comes with paper degradation influenced by another material in contact. When I am asked what my specialty is, I find it hard to put words on it, as I find myself as much specialized as I am not. I would like to say that I am a “challenging and unusual paper objects conservator”, which includes quite a large array of three-dimensional possibilities such as papier-mâché, oil painting on paper, globes, fans, screens, boxes, etc. against archives and prints. But this is not the right term as flat paper objects can be extremely challenging and unusual too – also I have a passion for drawings and sketchbooks. I was told recently that apparently a conservation school in the Netherlands taught a specialty titled as “Decorative papers conservator”. So I think I can say I am a conservator for decorative paper and hopeless cases. Which does not sound quite right either, because I am a believer. Ahem. Call me what you like!

Alongside my private practice, I pursued in the development of SINTEVA Cuirs, a stable faux-leather meeting conservation requirements for leather-bound book infill repairs. It allowed me to travel and speak about the subject on various occasions. Hooked by the topic, I got more and more interested in leather and how to conserve it, as unlike painting or paper conservation, it is more uncommon, and there is research to catch upon to learn how to preserve it best. I am adding the interaction of leather and paper together to my list of specialties, but more as a way to conserve leather with a paper conservator background as specialties often meet one another.

This is how I met Brittany through her blog, when I started my studies, as I was already looking in the large use that had been made of paper, and how it gets in our way daily, as it does in automata. She generously offered that I write on her blog about a mechanized toy partially composed of paper and cardboard, and in june 2018, we collaborated on the conservation of a mechanical papier-mâché bulldog toy flocked with hair. Now hair got in the way and I started making faux-fur with paper. And the story goes on and on….as the specialty narrows and broadens somewhere in Versailles.

You can find more about my tribulations here and there

Last update: august 2018

Discovering the bulldog toy for the first time in June 2018

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