Friday, August 31, 2012

Black Bisque Twins Artistically Repaired

Black Bisque Twins, made in Japan, in need of repair

These black bisque twins marked JAPAN on their backs were an eBay find over 10 years ago.   They stand approximately 3 inches and have jointed arms and frozen legs.  Their cherubic faces are not the typical faces of black characters from their circa 1920s to 1930s era.  Their hair is molded, Roaring Twenties-style waves.  Whether they are authentically black or not, I am uncertain.  I have never seen another black pair like them, but have located similar white versions.

They arrived in horrible shape.  One was missing an arm, some of the black paint had been either rubbed off or scraped off, and some insensitive character dotted them sporadically with red paint (was this supposed to represent blood?). My plan was to immediately remove the existing paint or paint over the existing paint and fashion a new arm for the one-armed one.


Out of sight out of mind took on a new meaning with these twins.  After their arrival over a decade ago, they were immediately stored in a desk drawer in my office/doll room until recently when I rediscovered them and placed them on a kitchen shelf above the sink.  I would see them there and remember to begin the restoration (I thought).  Well, before that happened the one with the two arms fell from the shelf into the sink and broke her head!  Good grief!   

On August 19, 2012, I took the initial photograph prior to repainting, varnishing, reattaching the head, and finally sculpting a new arm before painting/varnishing and attached it to the one-armed one.

New arm formed from polymer clay prior to baking

I used a small bit of my husband's polymer clay to fashion an almost identical arm, which was baked in a 215-degree, preheated oven for 30 minutes to harden.  I bore a hole in the upper area of the arm using a small metal rod, which was left in the arm while it baked to prevent the hole from closing.  After baking and cooling, I painted, varnished, and reattached the arm to the doll's body using the existing wire.

Husband (the resident artist) examined the arm after it had been painted and varnished and said, "Hmm.  It's just like the other one!"

"Almost," I said.  "The top portion is a little fatter than the other arm." 

Later that day when Son came home from work, he found me at the kitchen table touching up some areas of the arm that I had missed painting.  Proud of my work, I said, "Look, I made an arm."

"An arm?" Son, asked.

(I explained why I had to do this.)

He (the other resident artist) examined it closely and said:

"Look at you, trying to make something."  After a few-second pause, he continued,

"You 'is' kind.  You 'is' intelligent.  You 'is' artistic."

We both burst into laughter, recalling a scene from The Help wherein Viola Davis's character, Aibileen Clark, recites similar grammatically incorrect affirmations to the little girl she cares for.

Repaired, no longer wounded, 3-inch black bisque twins, circa 1920s-1930s

Even though I am not as artistically inclined as Husband and Son, the twins have been repaired.  Next, I plan to create or purchase a small shadowbox to protect them from future falls, breaks, and scrapes.



dbg

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12 comments:

  1. Good job! They look very nice.

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    1. Thankz Zendelle -- I half stepped, should have removed the original paint. Some of the red paint is slightly visible in a couple of spots, but they are much better than before.

      dbg

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  2. Neat to see you drawing on hidden talents to restore the twins!

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  3. Great job! I always love seeing you create and repair. I haven't seen The Help yet, but I may have to rent it this weekend.

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    1. If you view The Help, please let me know what you think. My son gave me a hard time for watching it on DVD a few months ago.

      dbg

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  4. Awesome job, Debbie! You do be artistic!

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    1. Hey squarepeg78 -- I needed that laugh!

      Thanks!

      dbg

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  5. Hello from Spain: you do a great job. The twins look new ... keep in touch

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  6. That's high praise from Husband and Son. You've given those cuties another 92 years to look forward to.

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  7. Thanks, Muff. Here's hoping for another 92 years for these cuties, at least.

    :-)

    dbg

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!