I was recently contacted by a client with a broken hare sculpture. It had suffered a broken leg and two badly broken ears. Upon receipt of the client’s hare sculpture, I noticed that another leg had been broken and badly repaired and an eyelash was missing. This poor little hare had been in the wars!
Now don’t get me wrong. My animal sculptures are tough little critters and breaks are rare. But at the end of the day they’re made of clay and will break if dropped or knocked with sufficient force. Although ceramic sculpture is repairable, it’s a skilled job and not something you should try at home.
Fortunately, I offer a mending service if disaster strikes. My client’s broken hare sculpture was certainly in need of some tender loving care. Its leg had suffered a clean break but, as you can see, the ears had shattered into pieces. He had clearly suffered a serious accident!
I tackled the legs first, as the breaks here were reasonably clean. I take great care to join the pieces seamlessly, applying filler and building up layers of colour as required to achieve a clean finish. This type of break, properly repaired, is usually invisible and, because of the materials and techniques I employ, the mended sections should be as strong as the originals.
The broken ears would clearly be more difficult, not only because they were broken into small pieces, but also because the ears are largely unglazed. Because of this, any flaws in the repair are likely to be more obvious. However, I always enjoy a challenge. After carefully reassembling, gluing, filling and finishing the ears, I have to say I was pleased with the result.
As an animal lover, I can’t help but feel attached to my animal sculptures. It’s always upsetting to find out one of them has suffered an accident. Over the years, however, I have carefully refined my mending techniques. All but the most severe breaks can usually be repaired and, in most cases, the mend will be undetectable.
I’m pleased to see my client’s broken hare sculpture back to this old self. He’ll be on his way back home soon by secure courier. Perhaps, when he gets there, it might be better if he’s moved to a safer place!