Since 1980 I have taught the conservation of objects (stone, glass, metal, fibers, leather, ceramics etc.) at the Department of Art Conservation at Buffalo State College (State University of New York). I have been a craftsman essentially all my life. I made a living as a jeweler and metalworker before becoming a conservator. I am particularly interested in ancient and historic craft methods, and require all of my students to do an historic craft reconstruction. I participated in the iron smelting symposium at Eindhoven, and since then have smelted iron here on my campus on several occasions (along with bronze casting, forging of blades, pit firing ceramics and burning lime). I am a blacksmith and flint knapper. I have made axes, adzes and other historic tools from metal and stone, tanned various sorts of hides, processed various wood and plant materials for fiber, made costume and shoes, and explored local American Indian technologies such as porcupine quillwork (etc.) I am currently interested in glass bead making in South Africa in collaboration with my brother Dr. Robert Thornton of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
Member of EXARC since
thorntjl [at] buffalostate.edu