For all our clients, from the private collector to the corporate or institutional custodian, our conservators are ready to advise on preservation needs and carry out stabilization, repair and restoration treatments in a skilled, yet practical, manner. Our conservators have advanced education in art conservation and have worked at cultural institutions (art museums, historic museums, archives) before entering private practice.
We are active members of the conservation community, helping to further the state of knowledge in the conservation profession as well as expand our own opportunities for learning. We have written technical notes and articles for professional journals, attended national and international conferences, delivered talks at conferences and symposiums, served on boards and of conservation and museum associations, and participated in peer review panels. Our lab frequently mentors interns from the Queen’s University Master of Art Conservation.
Our lab has conservators with different specialties working together to provide a cohesive approach to the examination, assessment (surveying), and conservation treatment of collections of art and archival material. This benefits collectors and museums wishing to preserve or restore a collection of art or archival objects and those recovering from disasters such as fire and flood.
Principal Conservator of Fine Art
Sarah Spafford-Ricci received a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition (H.Ec.) from the University of Saskatchewan and a Master of Art Conservation from Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario). With many years of experience in public museums and galleries she brings to the practice of conservation a varied treatment background and a special skill with cleaning, repair and restoration of contemporary art, and art with mixed media and unusual materials.
Sarah has examined thousands of Canadian paintings in treatment assessments and in museum conservation surveys. She has amassed a very large body of experience in the conservation and restoration of art by Canadian artists, from historic to contemporary.
Sarah has worked in the conservation labs of the Glenbow Museum (Calgary, AB), the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto), the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), the Royal Saskatchewan Museum (Regina, SK), and the MacKenzie Art Gallery (Regina). Sarah was editor of conservation standards manuals for the Saskatchewan and Alberta provincial museums associations, has written museum and conservation articles on disaster response and recovery, conservation assessments and surveys, and care of public and corporate art. At the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, she participated in a year-long recovery following a massive fire at the museum, resulting in authorship of landmark papers on fire response, salvage and recovery for the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation.
Sarah has served on the boards of the Canadian Association of Conservators (CAC), the Saskatchewan Museums Association, the Canadian Association of Conservators (CAC) and was also British Columbia’s regional representative to the CAC from 2006 to 2017. She has been chosen for adjudication panels for the Getty Conservation Program (USA), the Government of Canada Museums Assistance Program, and the Canadian Association of Professional Conservators (CAPC).
Tara L. Fraser
Senior Conservator of Paper (Part-Time)
Tara Fraser holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Certificate in chemistry from the University of Saskatchewan and Master of Art Conservation (ABT) from Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario). Tara has particular experience with treating watercolours, nineteenth and twentieth century prints, and contemporary paper works. She has a depth of experience with preservation of archival materials and the matting and mounting of paper.
Tara has worked in the conservation labs of Oxford University (Oxford, UK), Saskatchewan Archives Board (Regina, SK), Queen’s University Archives (Kingston, ON), and the AP Fine Art Paper Conservation lab in New York City. In 1996 and 1997, she was Conservation Consultant at the Smithsonian Institution Archives in Washington, D.C., where she wrote the disaster plan for the archives, headed a team that surveyed over 10,000 cubic feet of archival materials, and prepared 3,500 cubic feet of archival records for relocation to National Underground Storage and for digitization.
Tara has served as provincial representative to the Board of the Canadian Association of Conservators and as conservation reviewer for grants for the Canadian Archivists Association. She was the author of the Archival Heritage Strategy for the province of Saskatchewan and has written articles on conservation of archival materials, disaster planning and preparedness, and the care of public art.
Tara is co-founder of Fraser Spafford Ricci and was a partner until 2010. She is currently the Head Conservator at the Vancouver Art Gallery and occasionally undertakes projects at Fraser Spafford Ricci including complex paper conservation treatments and provision of expert advice and analysis in the conservation and preservation of paper artworks and collections.
Conservator of Paintings
Christine Foster holds a Master of Arts in History of Art from University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and a Master of Arts in the Conservation of Easel Paintings from University of Northumbria at Newcastle (UK), where she trained under paintings conservator Alan Phenix. In Europe, Christine worked in the conservation labs of the National Gallery of Scotland, the national conservation lab of Historic Scotland in Edinburgh, and the Marischal Museum in Aberdeen, and in the United States at a Boston private paintings conservation lab. Christine has a solid knowledge of both British and American painting practices, and her treatment skills are particularly suited to the restoration and conservation of historic British and European paintings.
Conservator of Paintings
Emily holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Visual Arts and Museology from the University of Western Ontario (London, ON), and a Master of Art Conservation from Queen’s University (Kingston, ON). She also trained in Florence Italy, working on traditional European paintings and frescos, obtaining a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Art Conservation at Studio Art Centers International (SACI). Emily has worked in the Toronto conservation labs at the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Though experienced in both historic and modern paintings, her area of interest is modern and contemporary materials, paintings, and artworks. Emily is knowledgeable in current art production processes, applying this to her conservation treatments
Conservator of Paper
Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Archaeology from Simon Fraser University (Burnaby, BC), a diploma in Fine Arts Techniques from Emily Carr University of Art and Design (Vancouver, BC) and a Conservation of Fine Art MA specializing in works of art on paper from the University of Northumbria at Newcastle (UK). She has worked in the UK labs of The Northumberland Collection and Archives and the Bodliean Library and currently works on-call with the conservators at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Michelle has a strong understanding of modern conservation techniques and methods in paper conservation, collection management and collection moves.
Conservator of Paintings
Elisa holds Degree in History and Conservation of Cultural Heritage at the University of Padova (IT) and a Post-graduate Diploma in the Restoration and Conservation of Cultural Heritage at Istituti Santa Paola di Mantova (IT). She is an Italian art conservator qualified in restoration of paintings on canvas and wood. Elisa’s parents were framers, so she grew up surrounded by European paintings and illustrations giving her a keen and natural eye for aesthetics and form.
Conservator of Paper and Objects
Michelle holds a degree in Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management from Sir Sandford Fleming College where she learned a wide variety of conservation techniques on paintings, paper and objects. These skills allow her to take on a variety of projects, and she assists the lab in administration, objects conservation and large-scale preservation projects for museums.