By Arlene Jones
I was browsing an online auction website the first time I ever saw a Jamaican doll figurine. She was bronze-colored and absolutely gorgeous. Often when we get African-themed, or black accessories for the home, they're made in China. So it was fabulous to find something made by an artisan from this side of the world. What most attracted me to the first piece, was that she had an elegant appeal. Her facial features were black and not just a darker version of a white figurine.
Over the years, my collection has grown from that first figurine to about 20. The last three arrived about a month ago. When I saw the box, I knew I was in trouble. It was kind of small to have three wrapped figurines inside. It also rattled. That wasn't a good sign either.
Opening the box, I discovered what I didn't want to see. Of the three figurines that I had purchased, two were broken. One had broken right in the middle. So that one would be easy to glue back together. But the other one, had broken into a number of pieces. Thankfully, they weren't small pieces. But the question became, would I be able to save it?
My first course of action was to browse the internet looking for a video about how to repair the broken pieces. And I found one that was very appropriate by Ron Hazelton, the famous home-repair guy. What was most interesting was his use of a wood filler product. He mixed the concoction and then used it to fill in for the missing pieces for a cookie jar. I would need that because the head wrap for one of the pieces had broken into a number of pieces. So just like in the tutorial video I had watched, I would need to fill in the hole with the wood filler product, allow it to set, then sculpt it to match the original shape.
I took on the challenge with trepidation. Because the doll is made out of clay, it is hard but also a fragile piece. So it was a slow go of gluing one piece for the dress together to the main portion and letting it dry before attempting to glue a second and third piece. Just like in the video, I used a quick setting epoxy glue. That stuff only gives you about a minute to work with it before it hardens. But I only mix small portions together at a time, so I had just enough to use for the part of the doll I was working on. It took me several days to get it all put back together. But I did it.
I knew I was a true craftsperson because when I went to get paint to repaint the dress, I only had to go to my craft cabinet where I have a plethora of acrylic paints. Rather than try to match the original dress color, I painted over the entire thing. Then I added a broad stripe of green paint similar to the way the dress was designed to begin with. The only difference was my stripe covered the area of the dress that had been glued together.
Here's a photo. The repaired figurine is on the far left.
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