Repaired Things

Tiled Wall
February 16, 2014, 6:55 pm
Filed under: architecture, ceramic | Tags: ,

natalia porter bolland wall

Photo by Natalia Porter Bolland


Beautiful Replaced Floor Tiles
October 8, 2013, 8:14 pm
Filed under: architecture, ceramic | Tags: , , ,

This image was posted to Facebook by Brian McCorkle in March. I asked him twice where it was taken, and he wouldn’t tell me.

Love the half-attempt to match the pattern of the original tiles.

Also, this looks like a portal into another universe.

Sidewalk Crack
February 2, 2012, 2:36 pm
Filed under: ceramic | Tags: , ,

I’ve been meaning to attend a Fixers Collective meeting at Proteus Gowanus for a long time now, and I finally went a few weeks ago. I knew it was going to be good when I spotted this repair outside of the gallery.

Photos of my first sock darning experience coming soon.

Gilded Ceramics
November 23, 2011, 4:26 pm
Filed under: ceramic | Tags: ,

Jessica sent me these beautiful photos of Japanese ceramics repaired with gold. They’re from the Freer+Sackler galleries, where she used to work.

I love that the conservator decided to draw attention to the cracks rather than trying to hide them. The first one looks like lightning at night.

July 1, 2011, 5:39 pm
Filed under: ceramic | Tags: , ,

by Renata Szur

Past Imperfect
January 6, 2011, 9:11 pm
Filed under: ceramic, metal, wood | Tags: , , , , ,

I recently saw this awesome article and slideshow in the New York Times about Andrew Baseman, a collector who specializes in repaired antiques or “make do’s”. This lead me in turn to his blog. These repairs are from a time before superglue and duct tape, people! Back when repairs were mechanical, not chemical. We have it easy now.

Here are some of my favorites from both the Times article and Baseman’s blog.

“Eastern European Teapot”, smashed and then pieced back together with metal staples, including a giant one across the front. There are also pieces that were specially made to match shards that were lost.

























Dog figurine with leg replaced by a nail, bound with wire.

Wooden shovel, circa 1870s, cracked and nailed together with a metal plate for support.

Victoria and Albert Jug, circa 1840’s, with a missing handle replaced by a metal one, attached with bands around the jug. This is a very common type of repair that Baseman documents. I find this one amusing because the upper band looks like a blindfold on the two figures.

Portland Vase
December 30, 2009, 11:19 pm
Filed under: ceramic | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Susan Sontag’s novel, “The Volcano Lover”, contains an account of the vandalism, restoration, and re-restoration of the Portland Vase:

“One February mid-afternoon in 1845, a young man of nineteen entered the British Museum, went directly to the unguarded room where the Portland Vase, one of the museum’s most valuable and celebrated holdings since its deposit on loan by the Fourth Duke of Portland in 1810, was kept in a glass case, picked up what was later described as ‘a curiosity in sculpture,’ and started beating the vase to death. The vase broke, fractured, shattered, was decreated. The young man whistled softly and sat down in front of the heap to admire his handiwork. Guards arrived at a run.

“The constables were summoned and the young man was taken to the Bow Street Police Station, where he gave a false name and address; the director of the museum set out to break the unpleasant news to the duke; the curators went to their knees to gather up all the little pieces. Careful not to miss any! …

“… the vase, in one hundred and eighty-nine pieces on a table in the museum’s basement, being examined with tweezers and loupe, was put back together by one intrepid, skillful employee and assistant in seven months.

“Can something shattered, then expertly repaired, be the same, the same as it was? Yes, to the eye, yes, if one doesn’t look closely. No, to the mind.

“Back inside its glass case, this new vase, neither replica nor original, was enough like its former incarnation that no visitors to the museum observed it had been broken and restored unless it was pointed out to them. A perfect job of reconstruction, for the time. Until time wears it out. Transparent glue yellows and bulges, making seamless joints visible. The jeopardous decision to attempt a better reconstruction of the vase was made in 1989. First, it had to be restored to its shattered condition. A team of experts immersed the vase in a desiccating solvent to soften the old adhesive, peeled off the one hundred and eighty-nine fragments one by one, washed each in a solution of warm water and non-ionic soap, and reassembled them with a new adhesive, which hardens naturally, and resin, which can be cured with ultraviolet light in thirty seconds. The work, checked by electron microscope and photographed at every stage, took nine months. The result is optimal. The vase will last forever, now. Well, at least another hundred years.”