Archive for the ‘anecdotal’ Category

Boscobel opening reception

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

Yesterday was the opening reception of Make-Do’s: Curiously Repaired Antiques at Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison, NY. It was thrilling to see hundreds of pieces from my collection thoughtfully placed within the stunning Federal-style house, as well as in the gallery on the lower level. This first of its kind exhibition was brilliantly curated by Jennifer Carlquist, who freely admits to stalking me for the past 16 years, after seeing my make-do’s featured in Martha Stewart Living. Jennifer’s knowledge, passion, and sensitivity can be seen in the placement of each item in every room of the house and gallery. Thank you Jennifer for allowing my collection to be seen in a new light, in a gorgeous old house.

Special thanks to Executive Director Steven Miller who, without hesitation, bravely said yes to the idea of presenting a show featuring broken objects, and to Edward Glisson for his wonderful displays and technical wizardry seen throughout the gallery. And thanks to my friends and family who made the journey to Garrison to share this special event with me.

I urge you all to come see this exhibit, on view now through October 1. I will be back at Boscobel on July 21 for a panel discussion, The Beauty of Imperfection, moderated by Glenn Adamson, the former Director of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. I will also be giving a talk on Friday, September 22, so come see the exhibit, stroll the grounds, take in the stunning view of the Hudson River and say hi.

Photos courtesy of Mark Randall and Bibiana Famolare

“Pot and Tea” exhibit at HKIA

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

Last weekend, on my return flight home after a three month gig working on a movie in Malaysia and Singapore, I had a four hour layover at Hong Kong International Airport. In my bleary-eyed stupor, I literally stumbled upon this small exhibit, Pot and Tea. Much to my surprise, I discovered many a make-do among the undamaged (I prefer not to use the word “perfect”) ceramics.

Here are some examples of inventive repair from this small, yet well curated, collection. I have included the corresponding labels, misspellings intact.

“Tonkard with Appliqué Decoration, English Imitation of Yixing Ware. Late 17th century.”

“Dutch Teapot in Imitation of Yixing Ware. Early 18th century.”

NUS Museum, Singapore

Saturday, June 10th, 2017

Yesterday I visited the NUS Museum, a beautifully designed and well curated museum on the campus of National University of Singapore. Naturally, I was on the lookout for antiques with inventive repairs and happily, found some examples to write about.

The Lee Kong Chian gallery on the lobby level features Chinese export ceramics from the Lee Kong Chian Museum and the archaeological collection of Dr. John Miksic. Hiding in plain sight was this vase made during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), in Jinjiang, Fujian. Its silver replacement lid and collar were added hundreds of years later.

Also on the lobby level is the Archaeology Library, which includes thousands of excavated ceramic shards and artifacts, on loan from institutions and private collectors.

I spotted this blue & white porcelain hulu (gourd-shaped) ewer from the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) among hundreds of ceramics, in the Resource Gallery on the top level. I have always loved galleries such as this, as they are typically more casual than curated exhibits and have a bit of an antiques shop or flea market vibe.

Make-Do’s: Curiously Repaired Antiques

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

I am pleased to be part of Make-Do’s: Curiously Repaired Antiques, the first exhibition of its kind showcasing inventive repairs, at Boscobel, a Federal period historically restored mansion on the Hudson River in Garrison, NY. The exhibit, which opened today and runs through October 1, 2017, includes numerous forms of inventive repair, including over 150 pieces from my own collection, as well as examples on loan from historical institutions, museums, and individuals. Make-do’s are cleverly displayed within the rooms of the mansion and in a special gallery exhibit. There will be lectures, a repair cafe and other programs relating to the exhibit throughout the summer, so please check the Boscobel website for more details. An illustrated catalogue with essays by Curator Jennifer Carlquist and me is available for purchase in the Gift Shop.

Photos courtesy of Boscobel

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

Before I travel, one of the first things I do is research the local museums, in hope of finding antiques with inventive repairs. As I am currently in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, working on a movie, in my rare time off I have been searching for make-do’s in local museums. Last weekend I finally hit pay dirt.

This past Saturday, I spent a few hours at the spectacular Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, home to one of the best collections of Islamic decorative arts in the world. Much to my surprise and delight, the museum is filled with many stunning examples of inventive repairs. The wide range includes silver, brass, and wood replacement lids, stems, handles, knobs, and spouts; made in China, Europe, and the Middle East. Strangely, I did not see any examples of staple repair, although I bet some pieces do exist, buried deep within their storage vaults.

Here are some of my favorite pieces and their printed descriptions:

Blue and white porcelain ewer, China and Persia, 17th-19th century.

Blue and white porcelain ewer, Kangxi Period, China, 1662-1722. Blue and white porcelain rosewater sprinkler, Kangxi Period, China, 18th century.

Blue and white porcelain huqqah (sic) base, Qing Dynasty China, late 17th-18th century.

Blue and white porcelain huqqah (sic) base, Kangxi Period, Qing Dynasty, China, 17th century.

Blue and white porcelain rosewater sprinkler, China, c. 17th century.

Blue and white porcelain ewer, Qing Dynasty, China, 18th century.

Engraved brass ewer, Deccan India, 17th-18th century.

Samson pot and cover (Iznik style), France, 19th century.

Underglaze painted vase, Safavid Iran, 17th century.

Underglaze painted ewer, Iran, 17th and 19th century.

Blue and white ewer, Jailing (sic) Period, Ming Dynasty China, late 16th-17th century.

Mad Hatter’s tea party

Friday, March 24th, 2017

What better place to stage a photo shoot of some of my inventively repaired ceramics than on one the sets I decorated on the television series Gotham. I helped create some wonderful, over-the-top fantasy settings during the past 3 seasons, including this one for the nefarious Mad Hatter. Thank you Elizabeth Rogers for your terrific photos!

Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Rogers

Oslo National Academy of the Arts

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

Last March I was invited to speak about the art of inventive repair at Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHiO) to students in the Art and Craft department. Along with professor and ceramic artist Paul Scott and fellow visiting speaker and metalsmith artist David Clarke, we shared our interests and passions with the students, showing examples of our work and inspiration. I was in excellent company and thoroughly enjoyed the experience and my visit to Norway.

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On view at the KHiO library is an installation recreating the office of Kai Gjelseth, a graphic designer, illustrator and associate professor of design at KHiO. The glass-walled office is filled with an eclectic assortment of interesting objects and ephemera collected from his trips abroad. Naturally, my favorite item is a large white porcelain bowl riddled with metal staples. I would love to know where he found it and what drew him to it.

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Make-do’s go mainstream

Saturday, February 11th, 2017

Looks like antiques with inventive repairs, aka “make-do’s,” have finally made it into the collective consciousness of the mainstream antiques world.

In the 2016 edition of the venerable Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide it states in the introduction: “And there is a surprising…interest in repaired pieces from years ago, like stapled export porcelain, ‘do-withs’ (sic) like broken goblet stems made into candleholders or damaged 18th century porcelain teapots with silver spouts added as replacements. It may be just part of the way being ‘green’ has influenced sales of antiques.”

Do-withs?! I kinda like it, in a sort of dyslexic way.

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The New York Ceramics & Glass Fair, 2017

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

This past Wednesday I attended the preview opening of the New York Ceramics & Glass Fair, the “jewel in the crown of New York’s Winter Antiques Week,” at the Bohemian National Hall in Manhattan. My friend Bibiana and I enjoyed meeting up with old friends and seeing what new treasures the dealers unveiled.

At Ferrin Contemporary I found a striking collage by Paul Scott made from two different antique ceramic platters with blue & white transfer decoration, melded together using kintsugi and gold leaf. Also on display was a large sculpture, Peacock 1, by Bouke de Vries, made from broken antique ceramics.

I found this pair of German stoneware jugs at Martyn Edgell Antiques Ltd. The Westerwald jug at top has incised decoration and cobalt glaze, c.1695. The early ribbed pewter band on the handle repairs an old hairline crack. The second jug, from around 1600, has a large ornate engraved English silver mount.

Martyn also had this plate with wonderful decoration, including my initials. Too bad it’s not damaged, for if it were riddled with metal staples repairing a multitude of cracks, I would have snatched it up in a jiff.

Happy New Year 2017!

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

Wishing you all the best for a Happy New Year!

And about that champagne glass…

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