Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Separation. Thoughts After Breyerfest

Well over a week has passed since our 2017 Breyerfest festival in Lexington, Kentucky. I needed a bit of time to not only cool down, but gather my thoughts calmly, gently and with a separation from a rather emotional experience this past year.

A separation…

To say I had a “not so nice time” this year is an understatement. My seminar on repair in the Kentucky lecture hall went well and my two workshops held for Breyer were fun and engaging. The attendees and myself had many good laughs and plenty of artistic exchanges. The repair in the hotel room, however, was an issue that was laden with whining, entitlement, and unending stress.

In past years, most of the repairs that graced my small pop up desk in the corner of my hotel room at the Clarion were fun, exciting and doable in the short amount of time we all have while in Kentucky enjoying all the festivities of Breyerfest. These past repairs ranged from leg bends to touching up scratches to maybe one or two lost ears (which takes time to repair especially if parts are missing). Easy touch ups that can be done in a reasonable amount of time which still allowed me time to wander halls to shop a little and most importantly, see people I only get to see while visiting the hotel in Kentucky. Everyone was very pleasant about the whole ordeal. Those that couldn't get their pieces touched up understood and didnt make a fuss. I'm only human. They knew that and accepted it.

That was not the scenario this year.

The multitude of rather difficult people and difficult repairs, which were not touch ups, but rather full out restorations, were staggering. I tried my best to fix them all knowing full well that most should have been mailed to my studio in PA for a proper restoration service. I tried to explain the complications and the reasons things were taking so long, but many just wouldn't listen or try to understand. They wanted what they wanted when they wanted it. End of story.

The whining from owners when things couldn't be fixed in 5 mins was overwhelming, but I hurried so that no one would be inconvenienced. So many expected to drop off their pieces and have them done by the time they walked to the end of the 300 hall. This attitude of "I want to be first" and I am entitled to have it done first was perplexing. The gaul of those finding beat up things in free boxes at the hotel and handing the pieces to me so I could repair 20 plus years of scratches to complete factory finish, and to also recreate missing appendages out of nothing all by the time they got done browsing at the hotel, was mind blowing. They left visibly unhappy with me when I turned them away. Some even spouting out as they left the room that I just squashed their grand plan to flip said find for cash later that night. Not one, but many requested these total make overs of cast off “freebes” in order to try and flip them for cash. Although I understand wanting to sell and sell well in your rooms, some requests are just not doable and ridiculous.

I realize that I make touch ups and repairs look easy. So much so that you may feel I can "whip" repairs out. I can assure you that there is nothing fast in doing repairs. It takes time and patience. It takes a steady hand, quiet time and knowledge of color theory. I happen to be very efficient at mixing and applying color that I do make it look easy. Also, that time and patience costs and my price reflects almost 4 decades of experience learning how to paint and fix Breyers. It comes with decades of experience dealing with paint and using paint theory. You are not just "paying" for the "physical" act of the repair, you are paying for my years of study and knowledge to be ABLE to fix your piece so no one, not even the toughest judge, can tell your OF was fixed. Verbal annoyances at price are always disheartening to hear and, sorry to say, an insult. And ultimately please remember I am still human. The need for sleep remains my constant enemy of production and if I say Im tired, I truly am tired.

After working on repairs for FOURTEEN HOURS straight I had gotten sick and as people were banging on my closed and locked door (which clearly stated my hours of operation) all morning and afternoon looking for repairs to be newly accepted or completed, I realized that this was NOT how I wanted to ever spend another Breyerfest. I decided I truly won't be spending any further ones as I did this one.

After all those hours and many horses being fixed I still had people complain, whine and feel entitled to me doing "JUST ONE MORE..." after hours of making myself sick. For the few that seemed happy and satisfied, thank you. But, so many seemed annoyed with me and not satisfied. One customer even protested saying they could do a better job. It was after this comment, and wiping away any work I had done on their repair, that I decided I would be quietly stepping back from offering repair in my room at any future Breyerfest.

Many of the repairs that did grace room 337 this year were far too complex for a hotel room touch up service. Many should have truly been classified as “restorations” and handled accordingly in a quiet studio situation. I tried my best. How I managed to get all those broken legs and ears and gouges properly fixed within a 24 hour period, Ill never know. I can tell you I never got to enjoy one performance at the park. Never got back to the park to enjoy anything. I never shopped. Just grabbed stuff as I saw it in the vestibules of rooms as I zipped through the halls returning repairs back to people. Never got my Maggie Bennent micros I so love to pick through every year. Never enjoyed anything at Breyerfest because I lay in bed all day trying to ease the pain in my head while people pounded on my hotel room door.

Overall, my disappointment lies in the way many people felt justified in treating me. I understand we are in the center of a throw away society. I know you want things fast and you want to be first, but I am only one person. I am not a Walmart service center. I am not Amazon Prime, nor am I a Kodak 1 hour Fotohut. I am just one person, one human with a love of art and with a desire to share that art in many ways. Offering to repair a broken item you hold dear is one way I enjoy sharing my art. This type of service sometimes takes time.

I know many, who have enjoyed my repair services at the hotel, will be very disappointed to read my news, but my health and well being must come first. Know that my regular studio is accepting restorations again. However, I do require full insurance on your packages both ways now. No exceptions.

I know that those that understand will get what I am saying and will be happy for me. Those that don't will inevitably complain. All complaints should be directed to my customer service department. Press 4 after pressing #1 for English.

Thank you for understanding.

Saturday, July 1, 2017


China repair after the third try.

This site is a frustrating one.

This tiny bone china piece has been one of the most difficult repairs that has ever graced my studio desk. It seems as if nothing will hold this little one in place. I suspect that the weight of his backside keeps putting pressure on the repaired cracks, which are holding the brunt of the weight on the front.

I keep trying though. I have tried a variety of products. At present, the last product I tried has worked. Its black and looks like tar on his gorgeous bone china legs, but its holding....so far.

JB Weld seems to be holding nicely...for now.