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Saturday, May 4, 2019

SEED Lab- Repairing a very special box that was damaged in the earthquake

Anchorage SEED Lab

Anchorage Museum won a competition for a Public Art Challenge from Bloomberg Philanthropies. 5 cities got 1 million dollars each for the challenge. Ours is the SEED Lab.

"SEED Lab, a center to bring artists, designers, engineers and community members together to propose solutions to climate change and related challenges." 
Today, as part of their opening ceremonies, they had a community workshop for repairing things. There was a lot going on. Screen printing, rubber boot repair, repairing poetry,  and the thing that caught my eye- repairing pottery.

In the earthquake, one of my mom's favorite boxes got it's lid broken. I saved the pieces, unsure what to do with them.

I was so happy to be repairing the piece that I didn't get the name of the woman who helped me. Whoops. Bad blogger!

But!! Also good blogger, because I'm going to explain how it was repaired!

This is what was there. They had a few pieces from thrift stores for people to break and learn how to repair using a method inspired by kintsugi- the Japanese art of repairing with gold.

This is the lid to my mom's box. 5 pieces, all there! Isn't that pretty and happy?

If you're going to try this- you'll need:

  • 5 minute epoxy- double syringe type (available in any hardware department) 
  • Mica or Pearl Ex Powder Pigments (affiliate link - like these Jacquard Pearl Ex Powder Pigments 32 color set ) 
  • something to mix the epoxy on- scrap of cardboard, disposable plate, etc
  • craft sticks
  • soft brush
  • deep bowl or pan with uncooked rice to hold pieces
  • rubbing alcohol
  • cotton swabs
  • craft knife
Now the disadvantage to this method is it's decorative only. Don't use it for anything that comes in contact with food. If you're using it for a fruit or candy bowl- line the bowl or use only wrapped candies. 

Advantage- it will work with glass, color availability and it's very affordable and easy. You can also practice with thrifted pieces. 

Figure out which edges you're going to put together first. Clean them with the alcohol and cotton swab to make sure no skin oils or dirt are on them. 

Put a small amount of the epoxy on your mixing surface- about the size of a nickle. You'll only do a little bit at a time because of the short open working time of the epoxy when mixed.Mix in a very small amount of the pearl powder or mica- about 1/8th of a teaspoon. 

Use the craft stick to spread a small amount on both edges you're connecting. Then line them up and press them together. A bit of the epoxy will ooze out. it's supposed to. Hold until they are tacky enough to hold together, put them into the rice to hold it. Make sure your glued seam isn't in the rice! 

After a few minutes, about 3 or 4 on a warm day or about 6 on a cold day like today, use the brush to sweep some of the powder over the oozed seam of epoxy. Let it set a few more minutes.

In a couple hours, use the craft knife to clean up any blobs. I had to cut off a few blobs on the bottom so the lid would fit properly on the box. 

Now with this piece, I did 2 sections of 2 pieces each. Also while I was working on it, we got a visitor to the table who was watching and asking questions! I told him the  history of the piece. That my mom had brought it with her when she came up to Alaska as a VISTA volunteer. It's Anchorage's Mayor Ethan Berkowitz!! (see my lid in the rice behind him?) 

The job I did wasn't perfectly neat, but it was, for me, perfectly right. When I showed it to William and TG (who were at a comic book convention and that's another post)- they were both very happy. They both said they want me to teach them this method to repair things. I'm glad they are happy with how it turned out. It's their history too. 

They were also upcycling shirts with fantastic silkscreens by local artists. I had one put on the back of the jacket I was wearing that says "Seeding Change" (I'll get a photo later) and did this shirt that I know TG is going to "borrow" at some point with a gorgeous salmon print. 

It was a very fun day. 

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