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Pottery/Repairing Traditional Mexican Clay Statute

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Question
Elephant
Elephant  
Hi, what glue do I use to fix a broken Mexican elephant statute? It tipped over and the head broke off (a clean break - see attached picture). I'm concerned about the glue being strong enough to hold the weight of the head on the body. Here is a url showing the item: https://www.tresamigosworldimports.com/edgar-mexican-pottery-elephant?ref=gmc&gclid=CLPNrp_N6r4CFe4F7AodMwoABA

Thank you for any advice you can offer.

Jodie

Answer
Dear Jodie,

Thank you for your recent question. I am sorry that your sweet elephant was broken. It is, however, easy to fix. First, you will need the following:

several heavy rubber bands
several wooden toothpicks
a wooden Popsicle stick
rubbing alcohol
paper towels
rubber gloves
a paper paper plate (do not use styrofoam)
clear 5 minute epoxy  
newspaper

To begin, put on the rubber gloves and clean both broken edges of the elephant with rubbing alcohol and paper towels. Make sure there are no shards of pottery remaining on the elephant. Allow the alcohol to dry for 5 minutes.

Using the paper plate and wooden Popsicle stick, mix the clear 5 minute epoxy according to instructions. Usually this is a 50%/50% ratio of resin and hardener. You will only need about a pea size of each resin and hardener. The easiest way to do this is to squirt the resin in one spot and the hardener in a spot about 1/2" from the resin, then use the Popsicle stick to mix and join them together in a swirling motion.

Once mixed, use the end of a toothpick to scoop up small amounts of the epoxy. Gently glide the epoxy along the edges of the broken head of the elephant. Try to be as careful as possible to only get the epoxy on the light broken color of the pottery. This will eliminate cleanup. You will not need a large amount as when you join the pieces, the epoxy will squeeze from the center of the broken area to the outer edges, so apply just enough to line the center of the broken area completely around the broken head.

You may need an extra set of hands, but you can do this next step alone if you have good dexterity. Place the broken head on the broken body, aligning the piece correctly. Gently wiggle the piece just enough to spread the epoxy before finally setting the piece in its proper position. Place rubber bands from the trunk to the tail, holding the head to the body. Use as many as you need to hold the head in place. You will probably need to place some around the body to hold these rubber bands in place. The rubber bands must be extremely tight to hold the head tightly against the body. You should see epoxy squeeze out of the cracks but should only see a hairline crack if any, if the positioning is correct and there are no flaked pieces missing.

Once the body and head are in position and the rubber bands are placed, pour some rubbing alcohol onto a paper towel and gently wipe the crack line to clean off any epoxy. Do not over soak the paper towel as the alcohol may squeeze into the crack and weaken the epoxy. You want only to clean off the epoxy from the elephants color. Let the elephant dry for 24 hours before removing the rubber bands.

If there are flaking areas showing where the crack is after drying, you can go to an art store and purchase a matching magic marker and fill in the color of the elephant to create a finished piece. If you want your little elephant to look almost perfect again, work slowly and diligently so you can give life back to him.

Good luck and I hope I have answered your question. If you have further questions, you are welcome to contact me at any time. I am always at your service. Much luck to you.

Sincerely,
Ms. Ti Phillips
Earth Stoke 'N Fire Pottery Studio and Artist Retreat
www.earthstokenfire.com

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Ti Phillips

Expertise

Will answer any questions on hand building, wheel, glaze, firing. Speciality questions to include those in glaze calculation and development, firing techniques. Please do not send questions on identifying pottery. Although I would love to add this to my question topics, I have a retreat to run as well as the studio and volunteering on AllExperts, and therefore do not have the available time to research indentification and marks. Thank you for understanding.

Experience

Experience includes 30 years in pottery design and education. Have taught online and studio classes worldwide for the last 20 years. Own a pottery retreat specializing in firing techniques. Have 12 years solid experience in glaze calculation and formulation as well as problem solving in glaze chemistry. I am the first potter in the United States to have developed a complete package of pottery equipment blueprints for a studio. The blueprints include wheels, kilns, studio furniture, wedgeboards, raku kilns, slab rollers, ball mills and studio tools.

Organizations
Alliance of Pottery Artists Worldwide Association

Publications
Ceramic Industry - PPP Wyndstryder Press - Pottery Journal

Education/Credentials
University of Sciences and Art's of Oklahoma, studied under Professor Jaymes Dudding.

Awards and Honors
Potter of the year with APAWA, various awards for showmanship and design.

Past/Present Clients
Available upon request.

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