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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 restoration business.

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 something different.

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.


Early 1840's
Apothecary
Honey Jar

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.

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#1(above) Shows only two nubs remaining as part of handle.

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#2 Shows lid broken during shipping and two small pieces remaining of the opposite handle.

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#3 Front view of apothecary honey jar.  Note missing handles.

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#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 pieces.

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#5 Mold taken from completed handle for the one with two nubs only.

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#6 Shows this handle completed and painted.  Note ( at right) that the customer elected to not have top invisibly repaired.  Top pieces were glued and chips repaired and lightly colored.

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#7 Shows restored
Apothecary  Honey Jar

The school's motto is:

Don't Settle For Less If You Really Want To Learn.

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This page was last updated: 04-14-2010