Sunday, March 22, 2015

Jon Brandon, Mentor and Friend

I have a few very dear professional mentors that have been key to my growth over the years. My first mentor was Mitch Kohanek, founder of the National Institute of Wood Finishing, where I trained. Like a father to us, Mitch provided the groundwork to most of my understanding and technique in restoring antique furniture. The next friend and mentor came a little while later. His influence on me has also been profound in further development of conservation theory and treatment methods. Don Williams is not only highly influential to me, but he is the guy often referred to as “inimitable”. My third and most recent professional mentor is Jon Brandon in Brunswick, Maine. I met Jon maybe 3 or so years ago and ever since then he has been gracious enough to answer many questions and guide me in my professional development. Because the past few years have been so helpful, Jon has agreed to begin a more official mentorship relationship with me.

This past week I was fortunate enough to be able to spend time with Jon in his furniture conservation studio. We spent time discussing many issues and I was able to work alongside him for a little while. He was even gracious enough to have to me stay at his house. It was a memorable and worthwhile experience.

Neither he nor I know exactly how involved or formal this will end up becoming but we both have decided that the commitment is worthy. Our plan is to take it as it comes. We both have our own practices two and half hours apart while life is busy and both our bills need to be paid. But at the very least, Jon will have my back and be there to support my growth in the profession.

I am grateful for Jon’s generosity and openness with me. He explained that he wished he had a mentor when he was at this point in his career. Before he attended Don’s Smithsonian Furniture Conservation Training Program, he had so much time “plugging along teaching himself” along the way. I am grateful for the generosity of these men to take me under their wings these past years. One thing is sure… I don’t take these opportunities for granted.


Post a Comment