I never asked to be an Antique Restoration artist, but because of my financial situation I just “fell” into it. I work in wood. I’ve been known to repair plaster. I have even worked with Native American Kachina dolls. One thing I DO NOT work with are oils, porcelain, or objects of unknown origin. If I can’t get a feel for a fix, well…it isn’t going to happen.
The above photos are of a cherub from Italy. When I purchased this object, I was convinced that it was plaster. As I smoothed out the face with a gentle sanding I discovered that it was indeed hand carved from wood. The outer-layer was jesso, NOT plaster. I have NEVER seen anything so magnificently carved. As a wood-carver myself, and a collector of FOLK ART, I know now that this Object des ‘art is priceless. So what did I pay for this Italian masterpiece? Any guesses?? Twenty bucks. It is now worth more than twenty times what I paid.
However, when I bought it, it had been dropped several times. The nose was broken off, and it looked like it was ready for the dumpster. In fact, my husband was furious that I had given the seller $20.oo for it! Hah !! I knew that I could restore it to its former glory, so I ignored his disdain for my choice. It took several days, a lot of prayer, an ounce of talent and faith in my abilities to restore Angelo. [Yes, I named the thing!]
Since this restoration there have been others, and I have enjoyed each one. To restore any artifact, it’s a good idea to do research first. I always take my time with my projects and try not to rush things. I am finished when the object “speaks” to me. The most important thing to remember about restoration is to NEVER MANIPULATE THE ORIGINAL DESIGN OR COLOR. Over-doing anything will destroy the object.
We all have heard about this “Restoration”… What was she thinking? If I had done that, I would have deserved a ten-year jail sentence… After you destroy art, there is really NO fix that will help.