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


Tiny cut glass cordial with metal base, c.1820

March 14th, 2021

I’m a big fan of early repairs which drastically change the overall appearance of the piece. This tiny cut glass cordial, nearly 4.5 inches high, had a matching glass base which must have broken off over 150 years ago. Since there was no way to effectively repair the detached glass base, a tinker had to create a metal replacement. I assume the owner who had the repair done was thrilled to have a functioning cordial again, even though it must have stuck out like a sore thumb among the other “perfect” ones in the set.

Perhaps the original base on my cordial glass was faceted like this example. We will never know.

Photo courtesy of Corning Museum of Glass

Blue mocha ware mug, c.1840

March 6th, 2021

This cylindrical form mug was made in England around 1840. It is decorated with a blue field and thin dark brown bands on a cream ground. “IMPERIAL QUART” is printed in black transfer on the front. Mug measures 6 inches high with a diameter of 4.5 inches.

I’d like to imagine that the mug lost its handle as it was flung across the room during a heated bar brawl. Luckily, a clever tinsmith fashioned a replacement handle and attached it to the mug using 3 horizontal bands. I guess that after the mug was repaired it was involved in another bar brawl, as the bottom band is now missing.

This mocha mug with a similar form and from the same time period maintains its original handle.

Photo courtesy of 1stDibs

Coconut cup with metal handle, c.1900

February 27th, 2021

This hollowed-out coconut shell became a cup by the addition of a metal handle. As neither the shell nor the handle – which appears to have been made from a spoon – are marked, it’s hard to tell much about it. It measures 4 inches high, 5.5 inches wide. I believe it dates from around 1900.

If anyone knows more about this intriguing piece, please let me know.

Here’s an example of a coconut shell with hallmarked silver mounts used as a sugar bowl.

Photo courtesy of Wax Antiques

Small lobed teapot with metal spout & handle, c.1710

February 21st, 2021

This small lobed porcelain teapot, appears to have been made in China during the late Kangxi period (1662-1722.) It measure 4.25 inches high, 6.25 inches wide handle to spout and is decorated in the Japanese Imari palette of blue, red, gilt on white.

I love a double repair and this one delivers on both counts. We will never know if the replacement handle and spout were added at the same time or separately. The sturdy bronze replacement handle is tightly wrapped in rattan for insulation from the hot teapot contents. The metal replacement spout is more humble but allowed the tea to flow once again.

This teapot, with similar form and decoration, has all of its original parts intact. But I still like mine, with its added character, better.

Photo courtesy of Live Auctioneers

Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 14th, 2021

This is the only heart shaped metal brace I have seen. For more photos and details, please check out Heart-shaped metal brace on Chinese bowl, c.1770.

Happy Valentine’s Day, and if you happen to have a broken heart, I hope at least it is mending well with with staples, braces, or gold.

Large blue & white transfer printed ladle, c.1830

February 7th, 2021

Soup’s on! This blue & white transfer printed pearlware pottery ladle measures 12 inches long and has a 3.5 inch diameter bowl. It was most likely made in the Staffordshire region of England, around 1830.

Sadly, many ladles did not survive the years intact and this one is no exception. I only hope it did not snap in two while soup was being served. But luckily for the original owner (and me!), a clever tinker brought it back to life by adding 2 large rivets and wire around the break. As a true test to the tinker’s skill, the repair has remained secure 150+ years later.

Ladles such as mine were part of a set, including a covered soup tureen and under plate. This ladle appears to be “perfect”, but give it time.

Photo courtesy of Transferware Collectors Club

French faience bowl, c.1800

January 31st, 2021

This shallow French faience pottery bowl was given to me a few years ago by my friend Marianne, who found it in Belgium. It measures 9.25 inches in diameter and was made in North France in the late 1700s to early 1800s. It is made of red clay with tin glaze and floral decoration in blue, green and orange enamels.

Soon after the plate broke in half it was repaired most likely by an itinerant repairer, using 3 large metal staples, each 3/4 inches long. Although metal staple (aka rivet) repairs were done throughout the world, this type of long heavy staple was predominantly used in France, Italy and in other nearby European countries.

Canary jug with metal spout, c.1820

January 24th, 2021

This baluster-form jug was made in England, c.1820. It has a vibrant canary yellow glaze, silver lustre trim, and printed transfer decorations of Charity on one side and Hope on the reverse. It measures 5.5 inches high, 6 inches wide and is made of soft paste pottery.

After the spout became chipped or broke off completely, a metal spout was made as a replacement. Originally painted yellow to match the body of the jug, most of it has worn away to reveal the raw metal, which nicely complements the silver lustre trim.

This similar example suggests what the original spout on my jug might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest