On a recent visit to the UK, I attended the ICON Ceramics and Glass Group Conference in Worcester. Day 1 was in a particularly appropriate location – the Museum of Royal Worcester, in the former Royal Worcester factory. This day had a particularly porcelain aspect, from demonstrations of fine slip casting and decorating by Worcester craftsmen, a tour of the Museum by ceramics expert Henry Sandon (who received a rock-star reception from the delegates) to the refreshments served on Royal Worcester porcelain.
Field trips comprised a private tour of Worcester Cathedral and a visit to Great Malvern Priory. Both are great examples of continual changes in use of ancient buildings and fabric with significant mediaeval features and the almost inevitable Victorian restorations. The lively Conference Dinner allowed for plenty of discussion and not a few social media updates.
The second day had presentations on a wide range of topics including the conservation and display of an enormous table fountain, dissolving animal glues with enzyme solutions and how to replace the missing head of replica Terracotta Warrior. Presenters came from different career stages and the interest in the variety of topics was obvious. One of the outstanding aspects of this conference was the collegiate atmosphere and friendly interaction between conservators working in institutions, those in private practice and as students.