Patrick Storme graduated in 1982 from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp with a masters’ degree in gold- and silversmithing. Afterwards he served a six year internship reconstructing the 13th-century Saint-Gertrudis shrine (Nivelles, Belgium), which was partially destroyed during World War II. Throughout this time he became interested in historical gold- and silversmithing techniques and in the conservation-restoration of metal objects. In the early 1990s he co-founded the conservation department at the Royal Academy, where he was responsible for studies in the conservation of metals. He adapted the courses over the years, teaching the craft and systematically incorporating academic standards. The conservation department was integrated in the new Faculty of Design Sciences at the University of Antwerp in 2013 where a PhD research was started. In the meantime, this was finished successfully with the thesis 'Historical Copper- and Lead Alloys at the Plantin-Moretus Museum, Antwerp'. The main approach as a conservator-restorer is to act as an intermediary between the crafts of gold- and silversmithing, historical and analytical scientific research with a final goal in cultural heritage conservation.
Research comprises mainly the study of historical lead alloys as can be found in the printing letters from the Museum Plantin-Moretus, in organpipes or in gilded roses mounted in clavichords. Measuring their alloy composition with non-destructive techniques and relating these findings with corrosion phenomena enables conservators, restorers and curators to take well-balanced descisions in preventive or low-invasive conservation measurements.
Also, the application of atmospheric plasmatorches with a specific use in cultural heritage conservation is examined. Participating the European FP7 PANNA-project played a major role in the further development of this technique for the surface cleaning and protection of a range of materials. An operational atmoshperic plasma unit is available for tests and for treatments of surfaces. These advanced techniques are of a prime interest to the research group Heritage and Sustainability.