Delft jug with pewter lid, c.1690

June 6th, 2021

I purchased this ovoid Dutch Delft blue & white earthenware jug from a dealer last year because I loved the stylized decoration and the unusual inventive repair. It has a slightly flared neck, blue & white Chinoiserie decoration, and a scroll handle. Jug was made in Holland in the late 1600s.

The pewter lid with a patch to cover the missing spout is one I have not seen before. I assumed that liquids would not pour well from this damaged vessel, but was pleasantly surprised how well the water flowed. I guess that the tinker or whoever did the repair over 150 years ago knew what they were doing.

Here’s another jug with similar form and decoration, but without damage. I prefer mine over this “perfect” example.

Photo courtesy of Anticstore

Queen Anne Regency teapot, c.1950

May 30th, 2021

I purchased this porcelain teapot a few years ago from a collector online. It measures 4.25 inches high and is decorated with a burgundy band, over painted floral garland transfers, scrollwork, and gilding. Judging from the one photo I was sent, I assumed it was an antique and made in Europe. After receiving it and doing a bit of research, I now believe it is Queen Anne porcelain, Regency pattern made in England around 1950. It is marked on the underside with a small blue “x”. 

At some point after the original handle broke off, a sturdy bronze replacement was made by shaping a bronze rod and adding 3 beads. It was finished with clunky putty terminals painted gold. As this repair was done sometime in the 1950s at the earliest, it makes it one of the most recent repairs in my collection. I admit it is not one of the most attractive pieces, nor one of the most elegant repairs. But it’s still a part of the history of china mending and a good example of a later inventive repair.

This example with similar form and decoration suggests what the original handle on my teapot might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Chinasearch

Pots in Action

May 23rd, 2021

In 2005 I was asked by ceramic artist Ayumi Horie to submit images for Pots in Action, a new Instagram page she was creating. The objective was to show ceramics in use, and she thought it would be fun to show some of my wounded survivors. These are the results, photographed by my talented husband Mark. I’m thrilled with how they came out and hope you like them as much as I do. Thank you Ayumi and Mark!

Glass beehive whale oil lamp with DIY wood base, c.1850

May 16th, 2021

This mold-blown glass whale oil lamp with beehive design stands 6 inches high. It was made in North America, c.1850. As oil lamps were used extensively throughout the house, it was not unusual for them to break. If the owner was crafty, they could add fabric and batting to the top portion of the broken base, transforming it into a pin cushion. The upper portion could be fitted with a metal or wood replacement base, which is what we have here.

Judging by the simplicity of the work, this 3.5 inches square rustic wood replacement base was most likely a DIY repair. Wooden make-do repairs done at home range from the simple (Flint glass candlestick, c.1870) to over-the-top flights of fancy (Oil lamp with pyramid base, c.1920). I am hoping that people will be inspired by my collection of inventive repairs and take a stab at repairing their own wounded possessions.

This intact example shows what the original base on my lamp would have looked like before it took a tumble.

Photo courtesy of WorthPoint

Jug with transfer decoration and unusual metal handle, c.1880

May 9th, 2021

This sturdy transferware jug was made by Cork, Edge & Malkin of Burslem, England, as part of the Italy series. The red transfer design was registered on September 29, 1879. Jug stands 5.5 inches high and is stamped on the underside: “TRADE MARK, E.M & CO. B, ITALY.”

Although the durable earthenware seems likely to have withstood much wear and tear, somehow the handle became detached well over 100 years ago. To bring the jug back to life, a tinker created an unusual replacement handle using crimped tin and wire. By carefully attaching bands at the top and bottom, the handle was secured without drilling through the body, which might have resulted in further damage. Much thanks to the anonymous tinker who made this otherwise innocuous jug unique.

This jug with similar form and decoration shows what the original loop handle on my jug might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Replacements, Ltd.

Gilt glass trumpet vase with brass base, c.1960s?

April 25th, 2021

This one is a bit of a mystery. Although the vase looks like it dates from the first quarter of the 20th century, I believe it is actually from the 1960s. Here’s what I do know…this frosted glass trumpet-form vase with gilt & high enamel floral decoration in yellow, pink, blue, green, white, and 24k gold was made in Bohemian, Czech, possibly by The Egermann Company. It stands 10 inches high, with 6 inch diameter opening. It was given to me by John Koch, proprietor of his eponymous New York City shop, John Koch Antiques. John loves a good make-do and has been generous in supplying me with them over the years.

But the real reason you are reading about this vase it due to its replacement base, which looks like a brass plunger cup. It seems like something repurposed, rather than made specifically as a replacement. I will continue to dig deep and try to find out what this brass whatchamacallit really is. And if anyone knows, please share your information with me and your fellow readers.



Mandarin decorated teapot with metal spout, c.1760

April 17th, 2021

This globular porcelain teapot from the middle Qianlong period (1735–96) has a Mandarin family scene decorated on both sides with polychrome and gilt enamels. It was made in China and measures 5.25 inches high, 7.75 inches from handle to spout. The lid, which appears to be the proper form for this teapot, is actually from another tea service and has been married to the pot.

At some point in the teapots early life, the original porcelain spout broke off and a silver replacement was attached. I own many and have seen dozens of other replacement spouts with identical shapes including the scalloped back plate. I believe they were made in bulk and stocked by jewelers who were ready to grind down broken spout remains and snap on the replacements. One day I will publish a posting showing all of the similar silver spouts.

This teapot, with similar form and decoration, suggests what the original spout on mine would have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Rob Michiels Auctions

French faïence cider jug with metal handle & spout, c.1745

April 11th, 2021

I bought this footed earthenware bulbous body jug at auction last year and although I didn’t know much about it, I knew it would be a great addition to my collection. Made from tin glazed redware pottery and decorated with flowers & scrollwork in white, blue, green, yellow, and rust glazes, it stands 8.75 inches high. I believe it was made in Rouen, France, c.1740-50.

Looks like this jug took a tumble quite a while ago. Rather than toss the jug out with the bathwater, it was brought to a handy metalsmith who fashioned an unusual metal spout/collar/ribbed handle combo. Although the appearance has been drastically altered by the metal addition, the jug is able to function again. I much prefer the look of this make-do jug over its “perfect” counterpart, but that’s just my opinion.

This jug with similar form suggests what the original handle and spout on my jug might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of WorthPoint

Stapled bowl with birds & insects, c.1830

April 4th, 2021

This Meissen style porcelain bowl with scalloped edge is hand decorated with a large bird at center surrounded by insects and finished with a delicate gilt border. It measures 5.5 inches in diameter. Although unsigned, it was most likely made in Germany, c.1830.

Long ago the bowl slipped from the hands of someone who might have been clearing the table or washing up after a meal. As a result of the mishap, the bowl, now in 2 pieces, was brought to a “china mender” for repair. With the addition of 12 carefully placed metal staples, the bowl was brought back to life and able to function once again on the dinner table.

Kintsugi: The Poetic Mend

March 21st, 2021

Kintsugi: The Poetic Mend by Bonnie Kemske has just been published and I am sure that anyone who enjoys my blog will enjoy reading this well written and informative book. It’s beautifully printed, with extensive colorful photos and historical information. There is even a section showing the step-by-step kintsugi process, which is fascinating.

I am pleased to have a ceramic plate with my own kintsugi repair featured in the first chapter, Cracks Made Whole In a Golden Repair.

Click on this link to see more photos and information of the plate: Kintsugi repair, at last!

…as well as another plate that I repaired: Family platter with kintsugi gold repair