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(Note that the shops listed here cannot repair dinnerware because the glue and the paint involved in invisible repair are not suitable for an eating surface.) Randi Schwartz operates THE PORCELAIN DOCTOR (Wilmette) out of her North Shore antiques shop, Raven & Dove, where she is able to repair decorative porcelain and pottery (including the collector favorite, majolica), as well as ivory, jade, and soapstone. Schwartz has 33 years of experience in porcelain and ceramic repair and can boast that she once repaired a ceramic Picasso sculpture that later sold at auction for $40,000. BROKEN ART RESTORATION (see profile) specializes in porcelain repair, with prices ranging from $75 to several thousand dollars. As part of its art restoration services, ARMAND LEE & CO. also offers invisible porcelain repair.


Frank Connet opened TEXTILE RESTORATION 24 years ago in Belmont Cragin. The specialty firm conserves, restores, and cleans historic, antique, and ethnographic textiles such as tapestries, quilts, flags, embroidery samplers, and rugs. He hand cleans items, repairs holes and moth damage, and dyes his own thread to match fabrics. He once patched a large hole in a rare Japanese robe by reweaving a section to match. He has also restored a beaded tunic from the Yoruba tribal group in Nigeria for a collector and a group of Civil War officer uniforms that suffered smoke damage in a fire. “It’s fascinating. You never know what will come in,” Connet says.

CORRINE RILEY, who works out of her Bucktown studio, has been restoring quilts and hooked rugs for 30 years. She can repair holes, repair or replace worn fabrics, and restore unraveling hooked rugs. “I have collected vintage fabrics for 30 years, so I can usually find something that comes from the same era to match it,” Riley says.


The natural history art gallery JOEL OPPENHEIMER started as an art conservation outpost founded by Oppenheimer’s predecessor, who was a conservator for the Art Institute. After Oppenheimer graduated in 1978 with a degree in fine art, he joined the shop as an art restorer. The gallery now has a large restoration staff and 10,000 square feet of studio and lab space in a separate Hubbard Street location; walk-ins and initial appointments are still done out of the Michigan Avenue space. The staff can restore paintings in any medium—oils, acrylics, watercolors—on canvas, linen, or panel, as well as prints, maps, photographs, documents, and Oriental screens. Services range from a simple cleaning to repairing water damage, tears, stains, and damage from improper mounting or framing.

THE CHICAGO CONSERVATION CENTER offers specialty conservation services in nine departments: paintings, murals, works of art on paper, photographs, textiles, sculptures, rare books, frames and gilded objects, and antique and fine furniture. Its roster of clients ranges from the Chicago Cultural Center to Marshall Field V to auction houses like Wright’s and Sotheby’s.

Cornelia Iclozan, the owner of FINE ARTS CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION (Wilmette), has been restoring and conserving fine paintings, art objects, and antique frames for 35 years. She can restore and clean oil, acrylic, and watercolor paintings on canvas, wood, and metal, ranging from antique to contemporary, as well as re-gild antique frames.

RICK STRILKY FINE ART RESTORATION restores oil, acrylic, and mural paintings. The Lincoln Square shop can also restore works damaged in a fire or a move. In the South Loop, BAUMGARTNER FINE ART RESTORATION restores and conserves paintings and works on canvas, from light cleaning to complete restoration of damage from fire, water, and “children with crayons and pencils—that’s a common one,” says the owner’s son, Julian Baumgartner. PARMA CONSERVATION in Pilsen has expertise with murals but can also restore paintings in oils, acrylics, and watercolors. Works on paper are the sole specialty of GRAPHIC CONSERVATION COMPANY in the South Loop, which can repair damage and stabilize photographs, Japanese screens, maps, documents, books, works of art, and sports memorabilia, such as autographs.


Illustration: Charles Wilkin

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