Friday, 18 December 2015

Jasmin Plaque Day Two

Make sure you see the first post about this restoration here -

Things have dried up nicely here in the village of Rang de la Rotule (I think this is sort of like 'Kneecap Junction'), and my cart pulling guys helping the old mule are looking very nubbly.

I could hardly wait to paint them up. What fun!

This is the orange foamy guys painted in. Just so you remember - here was the photograph of the original figures. I know, nothing about the two pictures look the same - the angles all look different (a trick of the difference lenses used?)

Miss Kneecap, the beauty queen, now has her helpers back and I wish I knew the whole story.

I have one other part of it in a second plaque; but I'm not sure if it depicts a collision with another cart. Is there anyone else out there that can tell me if this is a prequel or sequel? ;)

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Édouard Jasmin Pottery Plaque

I received this wonderful folk-art plaque by Édouard Jasmin of Quebec and was asked to restore it; but the owner didn't seem to realize that major elements of the cartoon 'story' of the plaque were entirely missing. 

Jasmin told humorous stories in pottery - and I had to scratch my head wondering what this one was about.

Eventually the owner supplied a picture of the plaque which you can see below. Sorry about this picture. I tried to colour correct it a bit, but there was no hope. It was an old paper photograph.

It seems that it took three guys to haul the local beauty queen through the village. Two of them were missing in action.

Modelling in my usually types of clays would actually turn out too smooth and precise and because the photo supplied was quite blurry and lo res, I had to get down and dirty for the effect of horrible sculpting.

I tricked up some awful figures in a spongy modelling foam that was sold in an art supply store for young children, just to see how they would air-dry.

These were very smooth and balloon-like and they got cut up bamboo skewers for their 'traces' for the cart. The more I looked at them, the more I thought I could actually use them.

Here they are again below, with various viscosities of white glue patted over their surface.

By now, I was really taking a shine to these characters. I will let them dry and start colouring them up.

Friday, 19 September 2014

More Chambers Tiles

More Chambers tiles have fallen from the plywood backing in Grimsby.

This is an excellent opportunity to remove the various types of adhesives on these and get m into shape to re-mount.

Here I am removing contact cement from a tile. Contact cement, asphalt and tile adhesive!

After pieces large areas together, I intend to get interior reinforcing done. I will also take up bad original fits by bridging gaps where the tiles shrank in the kiln. 

Here's me 'buttering up' the interior of a tile to bridge gaps before the curved top surface goes on.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

From an Amsterdam 'Excavation'

April 8

What happens when an old restoration breaks? Sometimes you want to save it as part of the history of the object.

Here is an interesting blue-glazed buff earthenware charger bought in Holland which is almost 35% plaster restoration. 

This restoration might have been done about a hundred years ago and I would say it was a nice restoration. 

Then, the charger was broken into fragments again. Whoever tried to repair it was not finding it very easy to glue together the plaster restoration. Perhaps a few people attempted it with various glues.

So, what do you do now? The plaster is very nicely shaped with nice replication of the pie-crust edge and embossed punts. Before I did some surface cleaning on the majolica fragments, the blue colour looked well matched.

I'll be posting progress on this object as I treat it. The first step will be to remove paint and shellac from the original material. Then it will be stabilized - the joins, both majolica and plaster, will be reinforced and filled.


April 15

This 2nd picture shows the same charger surface-cleaned, reinforced, filled and the plaster repair re-saturated on the surface. 

The change of vibrancy of colour is perhaps not as marked in real life. The lighting and camera used were different, I must admit; but there is a marked improvement in detail both on the original material and the repair. The surface dirt had been giving it a sickly cast.


April 22

Here's the charger after touching up the in-fill and an overall microwax.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Fireplace Surrounds

A few years back I was asked to help with the production of two new fireplace surrounds for a home renovation. A box of assorted Victorian tiles landed on my doorstep and I was to clean and mend scorched tiles that were prised off an old fireplace. It was quite the assortment.

After we had a final count of tiles, it was realized that many more fireplace-grade tiles of the same size and 'depth' or width would have to be found.

I realized that this wouldn't look right unless the new tiles were English, from the same era (Aesthetic Movement) and had similar transfer-decorated motifs, style and colours. The tiles were largely floral in various colours - some very emphatic! They tended to be geometric rather than realistic. So, English fireplace grade transfer non-embossed Aesthetic Movement Victorian tiles.

It was EBay to the rescue! After many false starts, I found dealers in England who had boxes of mixed tiles in storage and often had two of the same type.

The computer was useful in making tiny virtual tiles that I could move around on digital versions of the fireplace drawings. Above is one of the fireplaces with an assortment of 'provided' and 'aquired' tiles.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Huaco Jaguar Vessel

Disaster struck recently when a workman blundered into a beautiful Peruvian jaguar vessel at the home of a collector.

When an object is in so many pieces it is always difficult to get a perfect fit again. You can see from the bottom that there was considerable material loss on one side.

The same view with the in-fill toned to be less obvious.

The finished piece.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Inserting Missing Text

Not something that I have to investigate very often - finding missing text.

Recently, I had to make lot of in-filling on the Merton Chambers tiles that were removed to my studio from the Grimsby Library project. Here are the areas with rough fill.

We ended up finding the text online in an unexpected place! An Adventist Newspaper from the 1920s - in Melbourne Australia.

'The corset - which compresses the vital organs overheats the region it covers, distances the pelvic (contents) serves as an (excuse for) ha(ng)ing the (clothes) upon the hips, the load impedes the circulation of the blood in the extremities lungs and brain and robs the wearer of freedom of grace and movement.'

Here is the article in it's entirety.

If it is difficult to read you will find it here -

Was it a reprint in Grimsby? Early plagiarism? More than likely a reprint. Or was it from the Grimsby archives at all?

Definitely a crowd pleaser, I'm sure the quaint reference would excite interest from anyone stopping to read it.

Merton Chambers had an Australian wife, Anita Aarons who was a well known artist and arts administrator herself. Her beautiful stained glass windows can be seen at the Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue in Downsview. Chambers also has a tile mural in the same location. They must gave collaborated often.

Just a thought...