Justine and Bruce's Vase

Repaired by Richard Whiteley

Justine wishes she could turn back the moment when she broke the Edols Elliott vase in a very typical household accident. Although the incident happened over a decade ago she recalls feelings of deep remorse, dismay, guilt and frustration. The vase was given to them as a wedding gift from a dear friend who is now dead. The couple have displayed the broken object on a shelf since – still able to find beauty in its shattered form.

On receiving the object, repairer Richard Whiteley noted that the transformation of the object already seemed to be underway. The vessel had been broken at the top, which allowed an opportunity to look more directly into its inner space – an opportunity that would not have been possible without the break. Whiteley’s intervention celebrates this and reveals an even greater portion of the void within. He made a diagonal and vertical cut to remove the broken glass. He ground and polished the now clean-cut edge to draw attention to the elegant silhouette of the form. Through the repair the object has been given a second life as a decorative rather than functional object – the 20-year history of the object remains embedded in its current form. Incidentally, Whiteley has a relationship with the object’s owners and original makers and he has applied his signature to acknowledge this connection.

Design Repairer: Richard Whiteley

Richard became an apprentice in stained glass at the age of sixteen and holds degrees from the ANU School of Art (BA Glass) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (MFA, Sculpture). His works are held in major museums and private collections worldwide, including the Australian National Gallery and the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning NY. He has received many research grants including a major glass-recycling project with a Sydney based company, Refire Glass. Richard is currently the Head of the Glass Workshop and Convenor of Craft & Design Workshops at the School of Art, ANU in Canberra.

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Justine and Bruce's Vase. Repaired by Richard Whiteley. Photos by Lee Grant. Image copyright Hotel Hotel.