Recent idle moments from March 2024

Baby Jesuses


These little guys have been occupying my attention for a couple of weeks - and the pleasure of restoring them has slightly renewed my interest my seemingly abandoned porcelain doll hobby. They belong to my friend Chris; she does not have two full-blown nativity scenes, just these two figures handed, down through the family and making their appearances at Christmas. However, over the years they had become quite broken and her family were encouraging her to ditch them - but I thought they were quite lovely. Chris had attempted a repair with plaster of Paris (they are plaster figures) but it's not very workable and the result was ... well... awful. So, initially, I had to carefully pick off all the added plaster without further damaging the original or causing more paint to flake off.
I moved on to mending the major breakages on the larger figure with Superfine Milliput - one set of fingers reattached to the hand using wooden pegs. The other fingers, which were completely missing, I moulded using air-drying clay - pegged them in place - and added more milliput. I did try cleaning, but I suspect he has some layer of varnish like an old oil painting and I could not seem to remove it - even using just water - without removing underlying paint layers, so his face and neck have remained a little discoloured.The smaller figure needed work on the (much more intricate) fingers, and the remoulding of a foot.
Then, there was a lot of sanding, painting, and blending using Seeley's body paint - which is great as a smooth covering layer but was hard to match to the original paint. I had to discipline myself to a "less is more" approach, because the figures are relatively roughly made, and in some places I found myself sanding rough areas that were part of the original casting. So - after all that, I touched up other areas using fine surface filler, acrylics, emulsion paint (his gown) and a gold roller ball pen! A true multi-media figure.

[Note that I looked up the plural of Jesus which agreed with what I thought on the matter, but the reference noted that " Jesus is rarely if ever pluralized" - however this would be a case in point...]