Friday, 28 August 2009
Repairing Ceramics – Reader’s comment
Gabriel Newfield gives his response to Murray Cheesman’s article, Repairing Ceramics, published in the latest issue of Ceramic Review.
Congratulations to Murray in packing so much good advice into just two pages. It’s a pity that, presumably owing to lack of space, some of his advice really ought to be qualified, and in one case is positively dangerous. Examples of advice that should be qualified: 1 True, epoxy adhesives like Araldite have their uses, but they do tend to yellow with age, which has a bearing on when and where it is appropriate to use them. 2 Soaking overnight in Biotex. Always best to soak first overnight in clean (preferably de-ionised) water before soaking in any detergent. Badly stained wares (especially earthenware) may need not just overnight, but days or even weeks in soak. And after soaking in detergent, soaking again in water, to remove excess detergent from the body, is essential, and again this may require many days, and several changes of water. The advice I would regard as dangerous concerns use of bleach 'as a last resort'. Most bleaches are chlorine-based and can be dangerous to pots, causing irreversible damage. Hydrogen peroxide as a bleach is less likely to do harm, but calls for great care in its use.
My own advice to would-be restorers/conservators of pots is – don’t rush in. Perhaps do a part-time course at a college, if one is available near where you live. Or get hold of an up-to-date book on the subject, such as Practical Ceramic Conservation by Lesley Acton and Natasha Smith, Crowood Press, 2003, ISBN 978-186126483-1, or Porcelain Repair and Restoration by Nigel Williams (2nd edition, revised by Loretta Hogan with the help of Myrtle Bruce-Mitford), British Museum Press, 2002, ISBN 978-071412757-6. Both are readily available in libraries, bookshops or via Amazon.
Happy mending! Gabriel Newfield
Repairing Ceramics was published in the Sep/Oct 2009 issue of Ceramic Review (CR239). For further details please visit: www.ceramicreview.com