Internationally known for her excellence in
teaching the lucrative art form of china, porcelain & pottery
restoration, Shirley Vickers has conducted beginner's business
courses to working students throughout the United States and
Overseas. Ms. Vickers has taught restoration workshops for
twenty-nine years and has over thirty-one years' experience in the
Shirley Vickers became interested in China Restoring
by accident by taking out "The Wrong Book" at the local
library. The book, entitled Mending and Restoring
China, fascinated her because it was a profession she never
knew existed. The information was quite timely because Shirley
had just started dabbling in collecting antique silver.
Reading with much enthusiasm, a germ of an idea began to form
concerning a change in professions. After twenty years in the
clothing industry (manufacturing and design), she longed to try
Now drawn to the antique world and quickly assessing
the definite possibilities that china repair offered, she set out to
follow "The Wrong Book". At first that proved somewhat
difficult because the book, published in Great Britain, mentioned
only materials with English trade names, unknown and unavailable in
the United States. Never daunted, she set about experimenting
with materials suggested to her. She liked the feeling of
putting things back together. Encouraged, she continued to
follow the book and search for other materials. Then luck
brought her into contact with a California antique dealer who knew
of someone who taught china repair. The classes, located
about 100 miles from Shirley's home in San Diego meant a long weekly
drive, but it all proved worthwhile. There she learned
professional, efficient and well proven methods. She put aside
"The Wrong Book" and continued her education.
After a year Shirley felt confident enough to work on
her own. She worked hard all day in her factory and long into
the night perfecting the techniques taught her and inventing
others. She learned to match colors, glazes and finishes until
her repairs were truly invisible.
At the end of two years of hard work, she closed her
factory and, with much trepidation, set up her china repair workshop
along with her antique sales and went into business full time.
Six years had passed since she had come across "The Wrong Book," a
twist of fate that changed her life forever.
By 1980 Shirley realized that no matter how hard she
worked there would always be more customers with more damaged items
than she could ever restore in her lifetime. Having requests
to teach, and with a flair for teaching, she developed her own china
repair course. Condensing her years of study into a forty hour
weeklong workshop, she felt ready to educate students who were
serious and willing to cram and work hard. The workshops have
been an enormous success, producing many talented china restorers
throughout the United States.
It is twenty-nine years since the first class of twelve
and the school has firmly established itself as the finest in the
country. It is the only professional school of porcelain,
pottery and china restoration that dedicates itself to teaching
modern, reliable and lasting restoration. Only the most modern
materials and equipment are used.
Handles had been damaged and only two
pieces left on one side, but enough was left to make a mold for the
other side. The lid was damaged in transit to its owner. The
jar now resides in a Doctor's Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.
#1(above) Shows only two nubs remaining
as part of handle.
#2 Shows lid broken during shipping and
two small pieces remaining of the opposite handle.
#3 Front view of apothecary honey
jar. Note missing handles.
#4 Handle with two nubs & two
pieces put together; then center piece made with a support metal and
shaped with angle lines that could be observed from parts of handle
#5 Mold taken from completed handle for
the one with two nubs only.