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Antique Dealers Guide

Post-restoration Care of Pottery and Porcelain…..

Pottery and porcelain marks,homer laughlin porcelain,ceramic and porcelain

Care of your antiques does not stop at just restoration or conservation; it has to be continued even after the necessary repairs have been conducted. Otherwise, the promised “long-life” for your ceramics may never happen! After all, the materials utilized for preservation can succumb to disasters themselves—there could be a breakdown of adhesives, flaking or cracking of paints or fillers, discoloration, etc.

Before we hand down suggestions concerning post-conservation care, we would like give you some advice concerning conservators. Go through the entire process in detail with the person you have hired, before the actual work is begun. Certain questions have to be answered—If drilling or sanding, etc. is going to be done, what will be the effect on the original material? What about the reversibility of cleaning agents and repairs? Will restoration result in obscuring of original surfaces? You do not want your conservator being responsible for more damages in the name of restoration!

(1) Your hands are to stay away from rims, handles, sprigged attachments and finials. You do not know if there have been prior repairs done with weak adhesives, or firing faults, or hairline breaks—all of which can cause further damages.

(2) Opt for metal spring-less plate hangers with plastic tubing (or easels) instead of metal spring-loaded ones. If there have been breakages and re-bonding before, the newly-exerted pressure will re-open old wounds. The tubing will protect the rims from chipping.

(3) Clay, enamel and glaze are natural, inert materials—we use synthetic ones (fillers, yellowing paints, adhesives, etc.) for repair jobs. They do not stand up well to ultraviolet light. Therefore, display your ceramics away from direct sunlight. You can also have ultraviolet fillers on indoor lighting.

(4) Your repaired antiques get a longer life if they remain secure from extreme temperatures and fluctuating humidity.

(5) Has the conservator used the melamine urea formaldehyde paint medium for re-touching? Has there been over-spraying? Well then, do not store your valuable stuff in the dark for a lengthy period of time—the paint will yellow.

(6) A water-soluble adhesive is utilized for soft paste porcelain archaeological ceramics and earthenware. Will it stay on if you soak or wash your repaired objects in water? Obviously not! All future cleaning is to be done with a damp cloth. An artist brush will suffice for dusting.

(7) If you notice flaking glazes or efflorescence, ensure that the specific item is kept in a constant relative humidity of 40%.

(8) Since synthetic materials are used for repair work, they get easily degraded by detergents, warm liquids or foodstuffs. So the restored ceramics can prove toxic if they are used for storing foodstuffs or eating.

(9) Do not use tape or collection stickers over restored portions, gilt surfaces, enamel or luster. Your valuable stuff will incur damages when these are removed.

(10) In case you wish to have accession numbers on your antiques, place them over a reversible acrylic base coat. Ensure that they are not visible.


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