Archive for the ‘anecdotal’ Category

NYC&GF exhibit and lecture, part 2

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Here are some more photos from my exhibit, Mended Ways, which ended last Sunday at the New York Ceramics & Glass Fair. In addition to the 100+ examples of my own antique ceramics and glassware, I also curated a collection of contemporary work by ceramic artists, with help from Leslie Ferrin of Ferrin Contemporary. I’d like to thank these artists for loaning their work and for continuing the tradition of early repairs.

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Details from fastidiously hand painted plates by Stephen Bowers, showing trompe l’oeil fragments and staples.

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A Bubble sphere by Ai Weiwei using the Chinese kintsugi repair technique to enhance the cracks by filling with gold.

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A detail of a figure by Sergei Isupov with painted cracks.

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Two pieces by Paul Scott, using resembled antique ceramics.

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Shattered and fused plate by Ruan Hoffmann.

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Stoneware jug with wood “staples” by Adam Lefebre.

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Nicolle Horsfield’s broken plate stitched back together using silk thread.

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One of many explosive sculptures using reassembled broken antique ceramics by Bouke de Vries.

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Vase with gold kintsugi repair by Frances Palmer

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Mara Superior also used the kintsugi technique to repair a crack in a figural vase.

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NYC&GF exhibit and lecture, part 1

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

I was thrilled by the turnout at my exhibit, Mended Ways, at the New York Ceramics & Glass Fair this past week, as well as the reception to my lecture, Past Imperfect. To top it all off, I got a nice mention (with photo!) in yesterday’s New York Times. Thanks to my friends, family, fair organizers and staff, contemporary artists, and to the new people I met, for your support. I also enjoyed meeting some of you – my blog, Instagram and Facebook subscribers, who came up and introduced themselves to me. Such a pleasure meeting you face to face!

The exhibit is comprised of three cases of examples from my collection of antiques with inventive repairs and one case of pieces by contemporary artists who have found inspiration in early repairs. I will include pieces by these extraordinary artists in an upcoming post.

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All photos by Mark Randall

The New York Ceramics & Glass Fair

Sunday, January 17th, 2016

I am thrilled not only to be speaking at The New York Ceramics & Glass Fair, January 21-24, but also to be exhibiting over 100 examples of antiques with inventive repairs from my personal collection, titled Mended Ways. Included in the exhibit is a collection I curated, in conjunction with Ferrin Contemporary, of ceramics by contemporary artists, including Stephen Bowers, Bouke de Vries, Ruan Hoffmann, Noelle Horsfield, Sergei Isupov, Adam Lefebvre, Frances Palmer, Paul Scott, Mara Superior, and Ai Weiwei, who have taken the art of inventive repair to new heights. My lecture is this Thursday at 4PM and my exhibit is up during the run of the fair so please stop by.

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Make-do’s at the MET, part 4

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

I spotted this during my last visit to the American Wing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The description in the showcase says more than I could possibly say:

“This extraordinary punchbowl features a remarkably faithful replica of the engraved certificate, dated December 1785, issued to Ebenezer Stevens (1751-1823) by the Society of the Cincinnati. Stevens was a major-general in command of the New York artillery and was vice president of the New York branch of the society. The decorative silver-gilt mount on the rim and around the foot were probably made during the early nineteenth century in response to an earlier crack—evidence of the extent to which the bowl was valued by its owner…”

Punch Bowl
Date: ca. 1786–90
Geography: China
Culture: Chinese, for American market
Medium: Porcelain
Dimensions: Diam. 16 in. (40.6 cm)
Classification: Ceramics
Credit Line: Gift of Lucille S. Pfeffer, 1984
Accession Number: 1984.449

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V&A Ceramics Galleries revisited

Saturday, April 25th, 2015

I am back in London for a brief visit on my way to Ireland and the very first thing I did upon arrival was to head over to see the magnificent ceramics collection at the Victoria & Albert Museum. I could spend an entire day peering into the endless floor to ceiling glass cases filed with worldwide and world-class ceramics. Here are some of my favorite examples of inventive repairs found among the collection.

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Take a look at this previous post from just over a year ago, showing other examples from the collection.

Make-do’s at the MET, part 3

Saturday, April 11th, 2015

Earlier this week I took a stroll through one of my favorite spots in Manhattan, The Henry R. Luce Center for the Study of American Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. If the Smithsonian Museum is known as “The Nation’s Attic”, then I’d like to christen the Luce Center “The City’s Yard Sale” as it is packed from floor to ceiling with glass showcases filled with over 18,000 tchotchkes, including Tiffany lamps, Shaker boxes and Revere silver. This impressive collection of the museum’s overflow allows the public to research and take a peek into the MET’s closets. If you look closely among the rare Chinese porcelain and early English pottery you will find dozens of pieces in various states of disrepair including visible cracks, chips, worn paint and missing parts.

Here are some of my favorite make-do’s, all hoping to one day escape the confines of the study center’s curio cabinets and be placed alongside their more presentable friends in the “big house.”

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The New York Ceramics & Glass Fair, 2015

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

Each year I look forward to attending the New York Ceramics & Glass Fair at Bohemian National Hall, for me the highlight of New York’s Winter Antiques Week. This year the fair has expanded to three floors of exhibition space, including more glassware and contemporary pieces than ever before. I enjoyed seeing Martyn Edgell and his booth chock full of colorful English ceramics, including shelves of dazzling mocha ware pottery. Leon-Paul van Geenen was back this year with a few examples with early repairs, as well as white Delft pottery, many pieces included in his recently published book, Delfts Wit. A handful of early white plates were give a modern spin on Japanese Kintsugi repair, done by artist Bouke de Vries.

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Leslie Ferrin of Ferrin Contemporary had two booths of fine ceramics by leading international contemporary artists, including Vipoo Srivilasa, Sin-ying Ho, and Stephen Bowers, as well as modern examples incorporating inventive repair, which I was especially drawn to. Paul Scott, an English artist, has done extensive research and has published articles on the fascinating subject of early staple repair, incorporating it into much of his work. Francis Palmer and Mara Superior showed large vessels with Kintsugi repair and faux staples, making their pieces even more unique.

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It was heartening for me to see so many examples of antique and contemporary ceramics with inventive repair in such a prestigious venue. It gives me hope that beauty in imperfection is now being embraced by more artists, dealers and collectors than ever before.

Happy New Year 2015!

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Wishing you peace in the New Year!

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Inventive repairs in Florence

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

Last week I was in Florence, Italy, and although I was there to celebrate my friends’ recent marriage, I was also on the search for antiques with inventive repairs. Even with numerous antiques shops scattered throughout the narrow winding streets, finding examples to photograph proved challenging. The few shops I found with antique ceramics had mostly “perfect” examples, and even the museums I visited had nary a plate with staples. Remembering some great examples from my last visit, I hightailed it over to Santa Maria Novella, the world’s oldest pharmacy, to see a few early majolica apothecary jars with elaborate replacement handles. Delighted by the recent renovation to the stunning interior, I was disheartened to discovered that the wonderful jars were no longer on view. This photo from my previous visit shows the front jar with two metal replacement handles, as compared to the jars in the rear with their original handles intact. Hopefully one day soon they will be back on public display.

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On my last day I walked back to my apartment using a different route and literally stumbled upon the Biblioteca Pietro Thour, an early stone building with attached benches along the front. The cracked stone on the top of the benches was repaired using over a dozen HUGE metal staples, serving the same purpose as the tiny ones that hold together ceramic plates in my collection. The giant staples appear to have been installed sometime during the 20th century so it’s great to see a modern application of this early method of repair.

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Also on my last day, I found in a small antiques shop a majolica tankard with a pewter lid dated 1796, and sporting a heavy, clunky metal replacement handle. Sadly, the piece had been dropped, leaving it and my spirits shattered, as it had been glued together poorly. If only the piece had been repaired with staples I would have been thrilled. But apparently, the tankard was a favorite with the shop owner and his customers, and recently an art student asked to borrow it to use in a still life. The resulting painting is lovely, and I actually prefer it to the tankard itself.

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A tribute to Don Carpentier (1951-2014)

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

I met Don Carpentier in 2012 when he asked me to give a lecture and show examples from my collection of antiques with inventive repairs. From the moment I entered the Brigadoon-esque Eastfield Village, his paradise on earth, we immediately hit it off and discovered we had many friends and interests in common. Don was one of my biggest supporters and was always there for me to help identify unusual pieces, show me how to detect fraudulent repairs (some made by his own students!) and cheer me on during my very first lecture.

A glimpse of Eastfield Village, consisting of over 20 buildings from the late 18th to early 19th century, including a pottery studio, print shop, blacksmith shop, tinker shop, doctor’s office, tavern, general store, and church. Each building was found within a 50 mile radius of Don’s home and was disassembled piece by piece, brick by brick, and reassembled on his property.

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Don helping me set up for my first lecture at Dish Camp, 2012.

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This pressed glass master salt with a make-do wood replacement base was given to me by Don as a token of thanks for my participation as a lecturer.

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Don making a tin handle during the first Making Make-Do’s workshop in 2013.

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The finished product, which I proudly display in my farmhouse.

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Two examples of Don’s reinvention of mochaware, using the original molds and techniques of the 19th century. The bowl on the right was a wedding gift given to me by my mother last October.

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This past June I participated in the second Making Make-Do’s workshop and made a tin lid for my Worcester teapot. I was helped by (left to right) Olof Jansson, William McMillen, and Don.

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Thank you Don for sharing your enthusiasm, knowledge, and friendship. Words can not express how much you will be missed by those close to you and by the antiques world in general.

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