Toshi Iwata

I have always been interested in anything old and have loved old things since I was very small. When I visited my grandparents house in Japan I used to go to the old storehouse and garage to look for antiques, and I was fascinated in looking at them and was able to forget about time.

My first encounter with English and European antiques came when I was 22 years old when I came to England to study English. I was fascinated and amazed to see antiques in use. They are everywhere in normal life.

I returned to the UK at the age of 29, determined to become a restorer and conservator of antique furniture, and my passion for antiques has never diminished. I have now lived in England for over 18 years and have spent my days surrounded by antiques, deepening my understanding of them.

Through my work as a restorer, I have had many opportunities to learn about structure, materials, texture, condition and design of antiques.

In the UK and Europe there seems to be a cycle of old things being passed onto the next generation, regardless of their value as antiques. Items are passed down from generation to generation, restored and used when they break down, and when they are no longer needed they are passed on to someone else who needs them. I feel a kind of attachment or respect for the old. The old is preserved as it is and its “antiquity” is treasured. Every little blemish is an individuality that characterises the object and is proof of its longevity. I think having the culture to take good care of old things is wonderful.

My restoration and conservation skills and knowledge centre around antique furniture. My skills include : Antique furniture, french polishing, carving, inlay, marquetry, boulle work, parquetry, making keys and gilding. I also restore objets d’art, collectables, ivory, bone, tortoiseshell, turtle-shell, horn, mother of pearl, wood and some metals.

Experience & qualifications include :

Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College BA(Hons) Furniture Restoration & Conservation First Class Honours with commendation for Marquetry & Surface Decoration by the Board of Examiners.

Awards received: BAFRA (British Antique Furniture Restoration Association) Student Conservation Award 2006.

The Wallace Collection – Hertford House London Internship (Responsible for restoration and conservation of boulle marquetry coffer) .

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