Once I could start painting, it only took a couple more days, since it is full colors with no gold designs to be careful around. The Statue is in its rightful place back at the church alcove.
When we arrived in Yuma for the winter, the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that I had fixed previously, was further damaged I found out. I was glad they had saved the pieces in a shed and I offered to repair it. Deacon Todd offered to bring the statue to my place. It weighs probably 150 lbs. so last time I worked on it at the church. I was glad to have it in my driveway so I could repair it close to a sink with running water to wash off the plaster off my fingers and the paint off my brushes. It took me a week waiting for glue and plaster to dry a lot of the time. Started by piecing together the 15 pieces like a jigsaw puzzle. Discovered there were 3 fingers missing on the left hand. Interestingly, now I have remade all the fingers on the left hand because I recognized my plaster thumb and pinky in the pieces to glue on again. We also wanted to reinforce the heavy arms with a metal rod. The guys helped me with their drill that drilled into cement and a saw that would cut a firm metal rod we found in the shed. The first arm we used two pieces of the rod, but found the angles weren’t very exact so there was quite a gap to fill with glue and plaster. The second arm we just used one rod and it fit closer together to glue. For gluing the pieces of hands I prefer crazy glue and only glued my fingers together once. For the large arm pieces I used gorilla glue. It was a long wait holding the arms up, through 3 rosaries on my ipad and I still wondered if they would sag apart so we laid the statue down and tied the arms up so there was less gravitational pull.
The Red Deer Advocate published my picture of the statue and did a write up about it.
So far, I was able to fix the fingers and toes and repaint Jesus’ sash. I was pressed for time as we are snowbirds and we were going to Yuma, AZ so in the spring, I hope to repaint Mary’s gown as well.
Sacred Heart Church in Red Deer asked me in Oct. 2021 to repair a Pieta statue that had been in storage for 30 years since there was a fire at the church in 1990. The near life size statue had been crated at the museum since then, except for a special exhibit when members of the church saw it and started a request to have it returned. Only in rare instances are church items and Indigenous articles repatriated from museums. In this instance, there were some issues that it was not technically signed over to the museum which made it easier. It was the only safe place to have it stored after the fire, so the church was able to have it returned. The statue had some broken areas, (a toe and 2 fingers) and some crumbling paint from age and water damage.
Mariette Williamson’s statue
We travel to Yuma for the winter months the past few years. My love of statues extended to my parish there, when I couldn’t help but notice Jesus had two broken fingers and needed a fresh coat of paint from the Yuma sun. It was too heavy to move, so I worked on it outdoors where it was at.
This statue was in the Courtyard of Sylvan Lake Parish and the priest no longer lives there. He commutes from Rimbey so one of the parishioners wanted to have her refurbished so she would be in a prayer corner and be loved again. On the statue I could make out “Henri Saidu w… 1950” I believe it to be probably about that old. It had been weathered outside and badly needed the fresh coat of paint.
Morris and Theresa Sych asked me to repaint this Mary from Sophia Sych’s Flower Garden. It had been weathered outdoors for about 20 years. It was the heaviest statue I ever had to bring into my home and it took a moving trolly to wheel it in and two strong men to lift it. It was lovingly returned to the flower garden on a farm between Camrose and Wetaskawin.