The Ebay seller had disclosed the repaired handle, but failed to mention the inside of the yellow clay pot had been painted black. I don't mean schmeared with paint to appear tea-stained, I mean painted a matte black. And the paint had a chemical smell. How can a seller fail to notice this? Now I can forgive an ordinary joe selling stuff who doesn't know a hill of beans about their items. But this seller is an antique dealer in Japan, selling a lot of nice stuff, with 5000+ feedbacks and 100% sterling reputation.
Now, I've sold a lot of USA-made vintage items on Ebay, usually 1950s-1970s-era stuff. Sometimes I refinish or repurpose items to spruce them up, but I always disclose what I've repainted or resurfaced. Most of the time buyers like a fresh, clean vintage item, but an unglazed clay teapot painted on the INSIDE is a disaster. Well, one doesn't usually paint glazed clay either, but recently that notion got blown when I saw an old 1930s Red Wing stoneware canister at a thrift shop that somebody had lovingly, and horribly, covered with white acrylic paint and embellished in a nightmare of poorly rendered daisies. So I guess sometimes nice vintage ware can be a project gone bad for aspiring artists, but really a good vintage dealer can spot condition issues immediately. You'll probably draw the same conclusions I did about the seller, but I'm fairly sure most of the seller's goods are on the up-and-up, they are mainly mid-century vintage and not terribly expensive. Probably stuff that sits in secondhand shops the way mid-century might sit over here.
I still wanted to rescue poor Chip, he's just one of those pots with mojo. Besides, I wasn't about to pay the shipping to send him back to Japan which would happen if I filed a Paypal dispute. So I just dinged the seller's feedbacks with a nice, fat red Negative, and a juicy comment on failure to disclose a painted interior of a vintage tea pot. Seller got rather upset, and refunded my money asking that I change the feedback. I wrote back that I hadn't asked for a refund, was willing to keep the pot, but the sale is not perfect when a vintage dealer makes a mistake like this, deliberately or not. I said that I sell a lot of vintage USA made items, such as Harley Davidson parts and vintage Levi's jackets to buyers in Japan, who would be very disappointed and upset, rightly so, were I to fail to disclose serious condition issues. And no, I didn't feel guilty about the neg, with over 5000 feedbacks she can afford the ding to her ratings. Buyer beware.
I knew Chip's handle would fall off in a matter of time, and I could do a much better repair. I managed to remove virtually all of the paint on the interior, you can perhaps get a glimpse at what's left. A good cleaning after grinding off the paint with a Dremel rendered the remaining paint stains inert to smell and taste. I've been using old Chip for green leaf teas like rolled green oolongs, he's not a puerh pot. He is not of that caliber clay, he is too soft and sensitive. The handle finally fell off last weekend and I could spend this past holiday week making repairs.
1. Choose an epoxy compound.
For ceramic chip repair, I like to use a product called JB Weld, which is essentially an epoxy and hardener. My housemate uses products like JB Weld and Bond-o on car body repairs. Alas, as I get out my JB Weld tubes, I see that my housemate has used up most of the product on his past projects. But I have enough left to make my repairs.
|JB Weld Epoxy. Bond-o is another one to try.|
2. Apply the bonded epoxy to the broken spots and layer a new gap.
|I want to build a new gap, not just glue the spots.|
|Epoxy is layered about 1 mm thick.|
3. Allow epoxy to dry for at least 24 hours before applying more or sanding.
Using my Liu Bao "candy" dish to hold my pot so the handle is helped by gravity to stay in place.
|Letting gravity help keep the handle in place.|
Additional epoxy means another day to dry before sanding. My house is very arid right now, we have cold and snowy weather. Not great for unprotected puerh cakes, but perfect for my teapot project.
4. Sand the epoxy areas with fine grit sandpaper until smooth.
This epoxy sands easily to a smooth finish with 200 or greater grit paper.
|The more time spent smoothing wet epoxy, the less time spent sanding.|
5. Choose acrylic paint colors to replicate the color of the glaze (or clay).
Chip isn't a glazed pot, and for myself I wouldn't bother to hide the repair. But I can show how to match paint colors in case you want to know how to hide a repair. This is key for repairing chipped ceramics, how well you can match up the paint. Two principles apply:
All clay and glaze colors are based in nature.
Nature has a limited palate of pigments which form nearly every hue that we see in nature. We call these "pure" hues. Fired clay pots and glazes all utilize pure hues and mineral pigments.
Choose paints that contain only pure hues or mineral pigments.
You can create every color in nature's color wheel with 6 paints, IF those paints are pure hues. When mixing paint to replicate nature, such as nature's clay or glazes, do not try and purchase a paint close to the color of the project. We don't know what is in that paint tube, whether any chemicals created the hues in the tube. We cannot mix paint with chemical colors and accurately predict the resulting tone without knowing what minerals or chemicals are in the paint. Pure hues are predictable and easy to control.
|Studio Basics Acrylic, or "Artist Grade"|
You can distinguish an amateur painting by an overuse of white or black mixed into the colors. An experienced painter will create a correct lighter green by adding cadmium yellow, not white. This is the trick to art faking. The Impressionists taught us how light penetrates color, and is made matte or flat by adding white or black, reducing the vibrancy of sunlight through color. In China and Japan, scroll painters skillfully utilize white parchment or rice paper, creating washes of color so that the white shows through in the light, rather than adding white to the paint. The result is multi-dimensional and ethereal. Porcelain painters allow the white clay to show through the color washes, creating a delicate and refined result.
So, you can mix any hue you want from this basic paint set. I can complete my project with this set of paints if I want. But my project is unglazed yellow clay, not a ceramic stoneware which is painted and then glazed. I can use mineral paints which are natural earths to match my unglazed clay.
All fired or unfired clays and glazes are made from mineral earths.
We can purchase paint made from the same minerals as clay and glaze. You can recognize these by mineral names on the tubes. They should be called something like Raw Umber, or Burnt or Raw Sienna, cobalt or cadmium. Make sure a natural mineral is the name of the color.
|Mineral-based acrylic paints are more expensive.|
|Use pure hues to mix the colors you need or find real mineral pigments.|
|Mix water in to create and layer light washes of color.|