Restoration of a 20 inch Nativity crib figure that was very near to becoming scrap.
This handsome figure is from a set of eleven; sadly they had been so very poorly repaired in the past, that three of them were not salvageable.
To make a good new repair, old repairs have first to be removed.
which Photos above show leg has fragments have been misaligned and fixed with glue.
The head shows a thick wad of hard glue which has built up due to being repeatedly repaired.
Clearly the repair has been inadequate, and the head has fallen off several times.
The loose head has been damaged repeatedly as a result.
The photos below show that the plaster has perished revealing old air bubbles in the original casting. The poor surface is typical of damp storage conditions.
The eye socket had been poorly repaired resulting in a loss of definition to the eyes; (see below left) and the chin - (another poor old repair), decided to " jump ship", and fall off.
Below right shows the face as it is re-built using plaster.
Once the figure was re-assembled and the missing areas re-built, and repairs complete; the shepherd figure was prepared for painting. Because the figure of Saint Joseph was to have a green cloak, the shepherd was given a shift of warm terracotta and a creamy coloured sheepskin mantle. (Below)
While professional restoration of Nativity figures gives the best results; a lot of damage can be avoided by careful handling and storage. Its best to inspect Nativity figures after display to check their condition, and if needed, have them repaired. They do get a lot of wear and tear - especially if used in schools, but regular maintenance is better than finding they are no longer displayable. Christmas is a time of wonder for children; and the school nativity set is part of the legacy of faith which we pass on to them.
Choosing colour schemes for statue restoration
Sometimes it is difficult to explain just exactly where a sense of colour comes from; except that " all is gift". Our gifts were not meant for us alone though; and so we must develop them as well as we can. One way I do this, is to observe nature; sketching and painting it regularly at its source.
It is in this way, an artist or designer imbibes a whole storehouse of experience to draw upon when its needed.
My sister and I always loved to paint, and when she returned from her first trip to Europe, the colours in her paintings changed. This awakened me to look at colour differently, and I am thankful to her for this epiphany.
I hope you can see the relationship between the newly painted king (centre) and the "Cerinthe Major Purpurascens" to the far right? These naturally occurring oranges and lavenders can also be seen in the sunset below.
It calls to mind the reference to king Solomon in Matthew 6:28-29 "And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they do not toil or spin; yet I tell you, even king Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as one of these."
While this passage tells us about trusting in God's providence, it also points to God's artistry; as superior to mans.
One of the problematic things about colour - is that it can't always be described in words - it has to be experienced.
Liturgical artist/restorer. Bachelor of Art and Design, Catholic Blogger
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