Once I finished leveling the plaster with Flügger and polishing my fills, it was time to inpaint! A question I am often asked on tours is whether I re-glaze the ceramics or make fills out of clay and fire them on. That is not something I do, because of the risk that adding heat poses to ceramic objects, though it was done in the past by restorers. Instead, modern conservators use Golden Acrylic paints and gloss media to achieve the same look of a glaze in a reversible and non-invasive way.
How does it work?
Replicating the "depth" of a glaze often requires multiple layers of paint. If too opaque a color is used, the fill looks flat and is easily distinguishable from the glaze, drawing the eye of the viewer. A goal we aspire to in objects conservation is called the "6 feet, 6 inches" rule. Matching the surface sheen and texture of the ceramic glaze, creates a seamless appearance when viewed from 6 feet, the typical museum-goer's viewing distance. However, experts and conoisseurs will be able to tell they an object has been treated when they look at it about 6 inches from the object's surface. Additionally, by carefully documenting our conservation treatments, interested parties will be able to tell where any fills are located.
What comes next?
Winterthur Postgraduate Fellow in Objects Conservation