About

Carola graduated from the internationally renowned West Dean College of Arts and Conservation in 2020, with a Post Graduate Diploma in Conservation of Metals. Her first degree was from Wolverhampton University in 3D Glass Design and Craftsmanship, which included glass casting, glass blowing and stained glass.

After her first degree Carola applied her skills to an apprenticeship in Theatrical Prop Making at Glyndebourne Opera House, going forward to develop a career as a prop maker and scenery builder until 2019. Employers included English National Opera, The Royal Opera House, Selfridges, Liberty, Harrods and Glastonbury Festival. As a senior project manager for retail props and environments, her clients included many well known high street brands.

In 2019 Carola began researching a career in the heritage sector, and found that conservation was the best match for her existing and transferable skills, and applied to West Dean college, to do a PostGraduate Diploma in Conservation of Historical Metalwork.

carola-delmese-brighton

Conservation

Carola graduated from West Dean in 2020. You can see some of her projects on the Blog. Prior to her studies, Carola volunteered at a number of heritage institutions:

Brighton Old Police Cells Museum – Carola joined the team under curator EJ Scott, during the museum accreditation process and during this time she helped with accession organisation, environmental monitoring, and display design. This collection of historical objects, images and antique technology is housed in the original police cells under Brighton Town Hall and tells the story of the emergence of Brighton’s police force and the social history of Brighton.

The Regency Town House – Carola joined the interior restoration team for this exciting ongoing project, working alongside heritage professionals and talented amateur enthusiasts to restore the interior to it’s original finery. Here Carola learned about paint analysis, plaster moulding and learned and applied wood graining techniques to the parlour and hallways. This grade 1 listed Regency property was built in the 1820’s,

Brighton Royal Pavilion – Carola joined the conservation team under Objects conservator Andy Thackray, in this iconic royal palace, during Summer 2019.  Her main task was to assess, document, disassemble and treat the silver gilt banqueting suite, as well as assisting the collections care team. She worked autonomously, following a previously established treatment procedure to prepare the suite for an upcoming exhibition alongside items from the Royal Collection. Listen to Carola’s experience of working at Brighton Pavilion by clicking the link for ‘Voices of the Royal Pavilion’  podcast on the blog page.

Awards and scholarships

During her Post Graduate year, Carola was nominated by her tutors for the Arts Scholar’s Conservation Award,  the Sydney Sanders Trust Award and The BADA Harold Davies Prize for:

the best performing student, judged by the most complete comprehension and implementation of a range of skills required and taught’ and ‘who has made the most progress during the year, demonstrating the most improvement judged through the use of materials, analysis, studio practice and the reflection process.’

Following her graduation in 2020, Carola received a grant from the Anna Plowden Trust and The Clothworkers’ Foundation to gain further practical training or experience. This took place  at Fishbourne Roman Palace in Sussex for 2 months, beginning in June 2021, assisting the conservation team in the treatment of archaeological objects retrieved from this nationally important site.

In support of her MA application (to begin in September 2021 at West Dean College) Carola has been awarded a grant from the York Foundation for Conservation and Craftsmanship.

Sculpture

Carola now lives in Brighton, UK and has been at the long-established Cross Street Studios in Hove since 2011. Her work is regularly exhibited at the Brighton Open House exhibitions and she takes on private sculptural commissions. These are usually celebratory or commemorative pieces, typically to mark a special occasion.

She describes her inspirations:

“I spent a lot of time in Italy as a child. The enormous churches punctured with romantic shafts of dusty light, the priceless reliquaries of forgotten saints, the smell of wax and incense and the sad-faced statues surrounded by candles and votives all made an impression on me.

As my travels continued, so did my interest in shrines, reliquaries and tokens. I naturally began to create my own reliquaries: containers for my memories – a stone taken from an Australian desert, a cheap ring bought in a market in India, a dried flower from my mother’s garden. Keeping each memory safe, I began to wonder why we collect objects and make shrines. I have tried to express and explore this impulse in my work – the desire to collect and make sacred these small things that symbolise memories or feelings.”