A conservator in a new role with Royal Copenhagen
Conservators can fulfil vital roles in places other than the museum world while still making a difference in the preservation of our living cultural heritage. Meet Vibeke Rask, who became a conservator in 2013. She is employed at Royal Copenhagen and helps to ensure that a strong ceramic tradition is kept alive.
The preservation of craftsmanship and thereby the task of maintaining a living tradition – or a living cultural heritage, if you will – is what is most meaningful for me as a conservator at Royal Copenhagen. The role played by conservators in the museum world consists primarily of repairing fine things – objects that originate from times gone by. At Royal Copenhagen I also work with fine things, but with new products that grow from a living craft tradition.
A living ceramics tradition
I operate as part of Royal Copenhagen’s Global Supply Chain, a unit that is responsible for planning, procurement, production, logistics and quality control management, and also plays a central role in the development and production of new products.
My primary task is to ensure that our skills within the ceramic areas are maintained and continued – particularly for the section relating to the colours for Flora Danica.
Colours for Flora Danica
As experts in the understanding of materials, my colleagues and I play a vital role in quality control, development, and in offering advisory services to external collaborators. In this capacity, the conservator can deploy another of his/her skills, that is, through the dissemination of the understanding of materials across disciplines.
My primary area of responsibility is to ensure that there are colours available for Flora Danica’s production. Flora Danica painters work with a limited palette of 25 colours used in a specific sequence in order to ensure consistency in production notwithstanding the differences between the painters. It is also my department that mixes new colours in collaboration with designers and external artists for new service sets and ’unika’ art.
Our in-depth knowledge of the production processes means that it is obviously down to us to attempt to clarify and rectify problems in production, for example if a plate is suddenly uneven or a blue colour has become too grey. This work is naturally associated with the elaboration of quality guidelines which are used by the graders to ensure that poor-quality products do not reach the market.