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On Saturday 3 September we were delighted to visit the National Centre for Craft & Design, Sleaford, to lead a workshop in basic ceramic restoration techniques. "What Broken Pot?" aimed to give the learners an understanding of the core processes of recording, bonding, filling and re-touching broken pots - after all, we're all clumsy sometimes!

 

Designed especially for beginners, but based very much on genuine ceramic conservation techniques (first year students at the University of Lincoln do the very same exercises!) our group got stuck in with gusto, and an enjoyable and informative day was had by all. First of all, our conveniently broken plant pots* were laid out and the group thought about how they might piece them back together without 'locking out' any pieces (joining two piece together in a way which would mean that another piece couldn't be squeezed in later, without moving the first two pieces). We then moved on to bonding the terracotta plant pots, followed by the slightly different technique we would use for a finer type of ceramic such as porcelain. After lunch, learners discovered that 'someone' (don't look at us!) had 'lost' a piece of their plant pots, meaning that they moved on to creating, and then in-painting a plaster fill. The day ended with questions and answers, and a chance for participants to ask us about their own broken pots from home. We always enjoy this bit of a workshop, and we weren't disappointed, with some lovely oriental blue and white jars brought along for us to see.

*well, everyone has to start somewhere!

 

Here are a few photographs of our work with the group, together with some of their comments about the day.

 

Participants recording the sherds from their broken terracotta pots Beginning to bond one of the terracotta pots

 

"Friendly, interesting course. Excellent."
"Great insight to practical methods."

 

Moving on to work on porcelain bowls One of the participant's porcelain bowls during bonding

 

"Enthralling."
"Most enlightening & good company."

 

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Trish Bamford

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