Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I do a lot of assemblage art, much of it involving china, ceramics, or pottery. I take pleasure in the hours I spend combing through stacks of dishes and crockery at yard, garage, and estate sales, and thrift stores, but it can be hugely disappointing to get something home and realize I either missed seeing a chip or chipped it on the way home. Pffft! Just like that, a likely suspect for a piece of art becomes useless garbage and money thrown down a rat hole.

Or does it? Not always. Not always.

I've been getting Mega Blossoms put together for shows that are coming up this weekend and next. There are plates, bowls, votives, coasters, and other lovely bits stacked and scattered and layered all over my living room floor. Step one in making a Mega Blossom (well, step two, if you include finding and buying the pieces, or step three if you count unwrapping and washing them all) is to spread out the plates and platters I envision being the largest, back part of the Blossom. Then I start putting color-coordinated other pieces in the center, switching them from one plate to another, changing my mind more often than I change my twisted position--it's like a giant jigsaw puzzle with no picture on the box. What fun!

Well, I got one figured out yesterday and was set to glue it together when I realized the pretty golden oak leaf dish I'd chosen for the top element was chipped. Dang. But it's an "Oh, bother," dang, not an "Alas! Disaster!" dang.

I decided to share my remedy. In truth, there were several chipped items. I just picked them up and headed for my stash of acrylic paints. Most of the time, that's all you need. Paint. If you can match the color where the chip is, you're set. Dab on that bit of color, and the chip disappears.

Now, I'm not convinced you could eat dinner off a thus-repaired plate, put it through the dishwasher, and still have a disappeared chip, but I'm not convinced you couldn't either, because after you've let the paint dry, you're going to paint over it with clear varnish. I like Dura Clear, which I get at Michaels or Joann's. It dries nicely shiny, and that reflective quality disguises tiny differences between the color of your paint and the dish. And it's practically indestructible. I used it on a painted rock about ten years ago, set the rock outside, and it lasted a good seven years out in the weather before the paint even began to chip off.

But what if you can't match the paint on the chipped dish? That was the case with my oak leaf. Here's the Mega Blossom. (No stem holder on it yet, so I can't stand it upright.)

And here's a close-up of the "repaired" oak leaf. Look at the yellow-gold dots. If they're right on the edge, they're hiding a chip. Otherwise, they're just decoration, added to make it look like they're supposed to be there, not dots of paint hiding chips. That's the key: camouflage and deceive! (Well. Guess that just goes to show there are times you can actually take pride in deceptiveness. As my dad would have said, "Who'd of thunk it?!")

Saved by paint. Don't you just love the stuff?


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