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Meet Melissa Scott, Katie Dimond, and Chelsea Scheller of Fourth Cone Restoration in North Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa, Katie, and Chelsea.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
The three of us worked at various vintage poster restoration studios around the US. We loved working in the restoration field and wanted to move up to restoring other types of mediums like fine art. So we joined forces in Feb. 2014 to create a restoration studio that offered a wider variety of services, along with great customer service, affordable pricing, and a professional atmosphere. We started small, working part-time out of a garage. Our small business grew very quickly in its first year, which allowed us to move into a larger industrial space and start working full-time.

Has it been a smooth road?
Owning a small business has forced each of us to wear a lot of “hats.” We don’t just get to do the jobs we’re good at. We also have to do a lot of jobs we’re not necessarily interested in doing, like plumbing for instance. Literal plumbing. And accounting, and paying endless taxes, answering emails, answering the phone, keeping our website and social media updated, photographing and documenting every project that comes in the door, etc. We’ve found it’s best to take a healthy attitude to all this task switching, to enjoy it. The problem solving is just one big game.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Fourth Cone Restoration – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We are a Los Angeles-based, women-owned small business dedicated to the restoration and conservation of vintage posters, prints, fine art, works on paper, collectibles, ephemera, and objets d’art. We have over 20 years’ combined experience in various linen backing and restoration studios around the country. Our services include linen backing, paper backing, relining, bleaching, de-hinging & tape removal, paper patching, paper sizing (i.e., replacing the binding agent in weakened paper), and restoration.

A typical job for us is the linen backing and restoring of a vintage poster. When a poster comes into our place, its paper is usually weak from years of acid deterioration. Mass-produced posters are typically printed on cheap paper with a high acid content, and the acid eats away at the paper over time. The poster has likely been folded a few times, so the paper is especially weak along the fold lines. Sometimes the poster has tears and holes, especially near the fold line intersections and along the edges of the paper. Often a poster has spent years on a wall of a public place, and passersby have felt the need to add their own graffiti to the artwork. Another common source of damage is water. Vintage posters spend a lot of time on the floors of basements, where flooding happens. Once a poster gets wet, mold and mildew starts to grow, and the paper’s structural integrity breaks down.

After the initial assessment and consultation with the poster’s owner, we set about cleansing the poster of impurities. Then we might bleach the paper which both removes any unwanted biological growth and brightens the tone of the paper and the appearance of the printing inks. After that comes linen backing, which serves to adds a flexible strengthening base to the poster, so that further damage is halted while the poster can still be rolled and unrolled for storage. Once the poster is backed, we can proceed with restoration if the client so desires. This reduces the appearance of stains, fold lines, holes and tears to near invisibility.

Our primary specialty is restoring works on paper, but we have experience in restoring paintings on canvas, board, glass, and tin. We have also restored vintage store displays, standees, art exhibit tickets, book jackets, and LP covers. Our restoration team is skilled at finding solutions for unusual projects and we are able to use a variety of techniques and mediums to fit the needs of each item.

What sets us apart from other studios is the wide range of items we are able to restore. For example, one of our first major restoration projects involved some wallpaper from 1812 by Joseph Dufour. It was an original edition of Les Rives du Bosphore, situated in a dining room of a historical Paul Williams house in Los Angeles. The wallpaper had become the victim of water damage during a heavy rain when water leaked in through the ceiling and behind the wall. Large brown stains had appeared in places, and the paper was coming off the wall in many areas. We spent several weeks on ladders, gluing the paper back down using hypodermic needles, and then we did cosmetic restoration to reduce the appearance of the staining.

As a company, we are very proud of our work’s high quality. Many of the items that come in to us are of great sentimental value to their owners, and we always try to keep that in mind. We spend a lot of time with each client to make sure we understand how they want their item to look, and then we tailor our work around that desired outcome.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
We live in a city that is centered around the arts and entertainment industry, which is perfect for us. We get a lot of clients who collect entertainment memorabilia like movie posters. It also seems like Los Angeles is less class-driven than other places. There’s an openness in the people. They’re accepting and non-judgmental. LA gets made fun of in other places for being superficial and hippy-dippy, or something. But LA doesn’t do that. LA does not waste time comparing itself to other cities, and it doesn’t worry about what other places think of it. We love that.

It’s hard to come up with any complaints about Los Angeles. The people are friendly; it’s a land of opportunity; the weather is nearly always perfect. We’re going to have to be very unoriginal here and say the worst part is the traffic. The traffic is pretty bad.

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