In early April, someone placed a small statue of a woman holding a platter by the curb. I looked closely at the statue and saw it was in extremely poor condition so I picked up the iron t-post beside it and left the statue there. Incidentally, I used the iron t-post to put up a temporary fence for my dogs to keep them out of my new planting area.—It was a useful find.
The following day (also the day before garbage pick-up), I saw the statue again as I walked my dogs. It was obvious someone else had handled her for she had been moved. I looked at her again. She wasn’t exactly my style, and it would take a lot of work to make her whole, but something about her grabbed at me so later that evening, I went back in my car to pick her up.
Before: If you look at the platter or whatever it is she’s holding up, you can see the broken piece sitting inside of it. I stood her up to take the photo.
Another before photo. If you look at the back of her base, you can see it loses it’s curved shape because a large piece is missing. Although she looks light green, she’s actually tan in these photos.
The statue lay on her side on my backyard deck until a week ago when I finally decided to work on her. (You can only pull so many weeds before you go crazy, you know? Or maybe I’ve passed that point!) Anyway, the statue’s problems were multiple:
#1: A 4” X 1-1/2” piece of her base had broken off completely. Luckily, I picked up the broken piece when I picked her up. Other big chips were missing from around her base as well.
#2: The underside of the base, itself, was uneven because it had eroded over the years. This made her wobbly. (I believe she is made of plaster of Paris, which isn’t exactly the most durable substance in the world.)
#3: Everywhere her paint was missing, bright white showed through, and she had significant cracks over her entire body. These aren’t evident in the before photos, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
I decided I did not want to spend any money on her repair so I would ONLY use supplies I had on hand. In other words, I would not buy a $17.00 quart of paint for her, but would use paint I’d already purchased and frankly, my choices were limited. Also, I’m not a particularly patient person when it comes to these kinds of projects, and believe me, this one took patience.
I started by gluing the broken piece back into place. I used a high-quality glue, which takes 24 hours to cure. Next, I added mortar to the underside of her base to make it level and less prone to tipping over. I also mortared over the crack where I’d glued the broken piece.
Once the mortar dried overnight, I grabbed some old dark red epoxy paint meant to seal concrete garage floors and painted the bottom of the base so it could not absorb water should it get wet. This, too, had to dry overnight.
Since I happened to have two round pieces of pressure treated wood lying around (from a contractor’s mistake), I decided it would be a good idea to glue her base to one of these. The wood would give the statue more height and also keep the plaster of Paris base from deteriorating quickly since the wood would prevent it from being in direct contact with the ground.
The wooden round had been primed previously, but it still needed painting. I looked at my exterior paints on hand: white, deep red, barn red, red-orange, maroon, two shades of blue, black, and green….
I liked the statue’s original tan color, but I didn’t have tan and to make her weather-resistant she needed a thick coat of paint. So, I picked the best of the inappropriate colors, green. (Since I have quite a few small plastic bottles of craft paint I decided I could tone down the green with various craft paint browns dabbed over it.)
Thus, the lovely tan statue and wooden round became garish green. Truth be told, the green isn’t bad, it was just never meant for a statue.
When the green paint dried, I applied various browns and the look was “okay.” Next, I grabbed some clear spray sealer and sprayed everything twice.
And lastly, I glued the statue to the wooden round and left it on the deck to cure, once again, overnight.
Mother Nature, however, threw a fit. It rained. Not only did it rain, it poured buckets. In less than 24 hours, we received 4 inches of rain and guess what? The glue didn’t cure.
I started over by scraping off the glue and letting everything dry. Once dry, I touched up the paint and when it dried, I glued the statue to the wooden round one more time. This time, I put a plastic bag over the statue in case of any unexpected downpours. (Go ahead and rain, I dare you!)
And now, I’ve set a Creeping Jenny in a thrift store pot on the statue’s platter. I haven’t decided yet whether to call her “The Green Grecian Girl from Link” or “The Lovely Link Lady”. (Link Street is where I found her.)
Is she perfect? No. I’m not either. I did the best I could with what I had and my abilities.
Close up of face & pot. I realize I need to center the pot a bit.
Finally, there is a sweet end-note to all of this.
A friend told me the woman who had lived in the house where I found this statue passed away. This wasn’t the case. A few weeks ago, I met the woman’s 30-year old grandson who said his grandmother wasn’t dead at all. Instead, his family put grandma who was 95 y/o, into a nursing home because of her dementia. The grandson cleaned out the house, and he was the one who placed the statue out for the garbage pick-up.
I’d like to think grandma would be pleased her statue ended up at my house and not at the local dump.
Oh, and JUST when I’d finished her, another project immediately presented itself across the street from my house. (I need more projects like I need five more dogs!)
My neighbor put the chair below out at the curb with his garbage. It’s absolutely solid. Only the wicker wrap needs to be glued back into place and a bit of black spray paint needs to be applied. Don’t you think this chair would make the perfect place for a potted fern or a BIG basket of blooming begonias?