Sculptors make handcrafted and artistic objects and articles of daily use out of different materials. They work with hand tools like mallets, crowbars, and chisels, or power tools such as stone-cutting machines, saws, and pneumatic devices. They also use various techniques to make casts of models and produce work pieces made of artificial stone, concrete, or metal. The sculptor’s trade has a long tradition. For thousands of years people have practiced different techniques for carving wood or stone by hand. Many important stone and timber buildings and artworks have been shaped by sculptors. Over the years technological developments and innovations have caused marked changes in this field, nevertheless sculpting skills still remain the most important qualification in this trade.
In Bulgaria a sculptor can either learn the trade through a four-year apprenticeship or by studying sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts. The latter is an eight-semester program that culminates with a Master of Arts degree.
Our sculptors are mainly concerned with the conservation and restoration of historical stone objects. Missing or destroyed parts are replaced using traditional techniques and original materials. Sometimes pieces must be recast. Broken parts of figures are reworked and integrated. Occasionally it becomes necessary to recreate entire sculptures using historical reference material, such as photos or drawings. This is done only on exception, for example if the missing parts of an ensemble are crucial to the overall impression and its readability.
Modeling, chiseling, sanding, polishing

The main job of the restorer is to conserve and restore works of art and cultural heritage objects. Until 1900 most restorers were artists who saw their task in restoring monuments to what was assumed to be their original condition. Often, however, they would go as far as to improve what they perceived as imperfections in the historical objects. In many cases the objects were altered beyond recognition or to a point where only very little of the original material was left intact. This spawned a counter movement against reconstruction. Gradually, the age-value of the object was recognized and began to take on a significance of its own.
Today the restorers’ work is influenced increasingly by the natural sciences. New developments, methods, and materials are being borrowed from these fields. Restorers are expected to be both craftspeople who possess a wide range of skills and aesthetes with artistic training and intuition. They must acquire in-depth knowledge about the objects they work with and about the formal and material changes that have taken place throughout history. They must be well informed about art history and also have a strong understanding of chemistry and physics.
In Bulgaria restorers usually have a university degree. During the course of their studies they specialize in a certain material and object category (painting, objects, stone, textiles, paper, etc.). Graduates earn the academic title of Master of Arts. Our company employs restorers specialized in various fields.
Cleaning, desalination, stabilization, structural stabilization, supplementation, reconstruction, waterproofing

Wall Painting
Wall painting, along with sculpture, is one of the oldest forms of human art to be passed down through the ages. Unlike polychrome architecture or sculpture, wall paintings constitute independent artistic entities that are bound to a given surface. In the strictest sense, the wall is simply seen as the support of the wall painting, whereas illusionist painting seeks to give the impression of three-dimensionality and to extend and transform built reality. Wall paintings are often erroneously referred to as frescoes. Technically, however, a fresco applies water-soluble pigments to a fresh, still damp plaster base. It is a specific kind of wall painting and just one of the many techniques used to paint on plaster and stone surfaces.
The restoration and repair or historical wall paintings has been carried out by artists for ages. In the seventeenth century the Roman Baroque painter Carlo Maratta restored the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. In Austria, too, monument restoration was generally carried out by professional painters well into the twentieth century. It is not surprising, therefore, that for quite some time restoration work was associated with “improvements,” “reinterpretations,” and style modifications. The profession of the restorer who specializes in wall paintings is relatively young. In Bulgaria in this field usually have a university degree.
Adding the skills of the wall painting restorer to our in-house areas of expertise ensures a wider range and scientifically based approach to the conservation tasks often confronted when restoring architectural surfaces.
Exposing, stabilizing, making plaster replacements of missing parts, retouching

The stonemason works with natural or artificial stone. Stonemasons hew, carve, sand, engrave, and polish stones using mallets and chisels as well as pneumatic tools and electrical milling and sanding machines. Their work focuses mainly on geometrical and often construction tasks that demand the skills of a craftsman and follow exact plans.
Stonemasonry is one of the oldest trades: the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Acropolis in Athens were built by stonemasons. These craftsmen used very simple means to erect these structures. The building blocks were precisely hewn stones and no mortar was applied. In the Middle Ages the stonemason’s trade mainly developed in the monasteries. The technique used here specialized in the exact dressing and artistic shaping of ashlar blocks. Wandering stonemasons organized themselves in fraternities with local chapters at each cathedral construction site; the stonemasons who stayed in the cities formed guilds. These set down the rights and duties of all stonemasons and stone sculptors.
In Bulgaria stonemasons receive their training by serving a four-year apprenticeship.
At our company stonemasons are responsible for shaping stone work pieces to replace missing or damaged parts of monuments and stone façades. They also use original material to make copies of geometrically constructed building parts like balusters or decorative molding. An important task is the skilled relocation and stabilization of stone building parts and ornaments as well as entire monuments.
Cutting, dismantling, sanding, polishing, hammering, relocating, grouting

A plasterer is a construction craftsman who works on both building interiors and façades. Today, the trade includes the areas of plaster, stucco, dry walling, thermal insulation, and concrete repair, but the plasterer’s main task is the three-dimensional shaping of mortar and plaster into stucco embellishments. Ornamental stucco can be prefabricated in the studio or made directly on-site.
The development of the plasterer’s trade is closely tied to the history of stucco and plaster. In former times plastering and masonry were both part of the same profession. By the seventeenth century they separated and became two distinct trades. In Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical architecture plasterers played an important role as designers. They were called upon to decorate not only sacred structures but the stately interiors of secular buildings as well. They work closely with painters and sculptors and are, like them, also considered artists.
In Bulgaria training to become a plasterer and stucco mason involves a four-year apprenticeship.
In the field of monument preservation specialized plasterers and stucco restorers maintain and repair historical plaster and stucco elements. Typical tasks include cleaning and exposing surfaces, the consolidation (shoring, stabilization, and backfilling) of detached or loose elements, and the traditional crafting of stucco elements to replace missing parts.
Mold making, negative and positive cast making, relocation, structural anchoring

Gilding involves the mechanical application of gold leaf and other metal leaf to metallic and non-metallic surfaces. There are two main techniques: water gilding and oil gilding. The craft of gold leaf gilding has been practiced since Antiquity. One can still find well-preserved gold on the coffins and mummies in Egyptian tombs. By contrast, Greek gilding has all but disappeared. Only written sources make reference to the common usage of ornamental gilding on private and public buildings. Pliny gives a description of the gilding practice of the Romans with details about the technique they used.
In Bulgaria a gilder’s training involves a four-year apprenticeship.
At our construction sites there is always plenty of work for gilders. Hardly a monument since the Renaissance has been erected without a flourish of gold, and practically every representation of a saint has his or her golden attribute. Gilders clean and retouch historical gilding and their undercoats and reapply gold leaf to surfaces where the gilding is badly damaged or has worn off completely.
Cleaning, preparing the undercoat, gilding, retouching

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