I'm Jenny and I need a room of my own: I'm an objects conservator (more on that in a bit!) and in 2020 I started a little company called Kuriosa Conservation. I need somewhere for that little company to grow up big and strong, and a place for me to get to do what I really love: hands on conservation.
Want to know more? Keep reading!
What's a conservator anyway?
Great question! Conservators work with people to look after things that are precious to them. We might do that via advice or practical intervention, like repairs or maintenance. You can find us in museums, in historic houses, in archives and libraries, and (like me) in the wild. We help people look after things that matter to them, basically. In my case I'm a generalist rather than a specialist: like a GP but for stuff. I work on all sorts of things and many different materials.
Who the heck am I?
Oh yeah! I'm Jenny, I'm about to turn 35, and I grew up in Sweden. I've been living, studying, and working in the UK since 2007 and I recently moved back to Wales after job hopping my way across the British isles. I've been working as a conservator for 10 years this year and that's pretty huge! If you're in the heritage sector you might've listened to The C Word
and then you'll have heard my voice (and my distinctive laugh) quite a bit!
Why do I need your help?
I miss having a workbench and a studio I can work in. Working with my hands and solving the kind of problems only a stuffed otter or a glass ship model can throw at you is definitely that kind of thing that makes life worth living in my book! That's what I really want to get back to and for that I need space. But space costs money.
A lot of people in my sector come from quite privileged backgrounds and well... I don't. Even after a decade of hard work I don't have savings (fun fact: the heritage industry doesn't pay all that well and a lot of jobs are part time or seasonal). Unlike many in my field I can't borrow money from a wealthy family member or benefit from some sort of buried treasure saved for a rainy day. I'm also ineligible for any grants I've seen so far (some of that is because I'm no longer at the start-up stage even though it feels like I am).
But I can ask for a little help from my friends and that's why I'm here. With your help I can do this!
What will the money help me do?
The goal of this fundraiser is to pay for the deposit and first month of rent on a room in a creative hub. In that room I'll be able to set up shop: it's somewhere I can keep my tools and materials, a place to do the physical work of looking after people's beloved items, and it'll be a place to grow from. In short: it gets me started. My goal is to move in at the end of January.
Can't you do this some other way?
Honestly? No, probably not. I could take out a loan but I already have a student loan I'll be paying off forever and more debt scares the living daylights out of me.
But can't you do this sort of thing at home?
Another great question! Conservation is a really amazing line of work but it's got a lot of health and safety niggles that don't pair well with a home environment. I don't want to endanger the health of my family, and we don't own a house: we rent. Landlords don't always want you to run a business from home, especially not one involving solvents and the odd power tool!
There's lots of cool stuff I can and have done from home: webinars, training courses, consultancy... But I'm ready to get back to the workbench now. That's where I really belong.