The broken dolphin

"My dolphin broke. It fell and the nose and fluke broke off. Do you think I could get a new one?"
Alas, no. The boro dolphin pendant had been from a shop that doesn't seem to exist anymore, at least the website doesn't look up-to-date at all. So what to do about my friend's dolphin?
I asked her if she still had all the parts, but no matter how she searched, she was able to find the nose, but not the fluke.
She sent me a quick picture and my brain started ticking.

This was still better than the other way round. I could try to hide the missing fluke, and the nose could be glued on, and wasn't it a nice coincidence that I had asked for a "gilding" (not real gold) kit for my birthday?
I told my friend I would try to figure something out, and soon after the poor little dolphin arrived at my house (nose already glued on, so I didn't have to do it, phew).

First of all, I gilded the nose. It had been glued on a tiny bit crooked, so the seam is a little visible, but not too badly, I think. Unfortunately I'm not the restoration master I saw on NHK the other day who made cracks disappear completely.
As it felt only a golden nose and forehead would look a little strange, I decided to gild the fins and the nose tip as well.

After that, the dolphin had to wait some time. I kept picking him up hoping he would tell me what to do next.
I thought of a wire structure around his tail end that I could secure going through the big glass bail on the back, then I thought of the same, but beaded in some kind of way. I saw pearls and blue crystals for the ocean to make him appear mid-breach, but I just didn't know how to start.

Then it came to me. Bead embroidery. A mix of blue seed beads. I could make one cut in the beading foundation for the glass bail and a second one to put the tail end through to hide it.
I glued the dolphin to the beading foundation and cut it into shape, but I wasn't completely happy with the spot where the tail end went through the cut.
So I added an extra patch at the bottom that went over the tail end and another one at the back to fill up the spot where the foundation bent because of the tail's thickness.
That was so much better.

I sewed on the seed beads and added some crystal rondelles, then the backing and the edging.
Another worry of mine had been that the layers of foundation and the backing might be too thick for the chain to go through the glass bail, but it works just fine.
It's hard for me to resist dangles, also I felt they would give the piece some balance. To me they represent the splash of water when the dolphin breaches.

Doesn't our dolphin look so much happier now than in his broken state?


  1. You are a genius, my friend. And an inspiration. I am totally amazed. And while I’m sorry your friend’s dolphin broke, to me it looks better than the original.


    1. Thank you so, so much.
      As you know, I'm an avid watcher of documentaries about old crafts - more like art to me actually - and restaurations. I really feel as if those documentaries, especially the ones I watch on the Japanese channel NHK World, inspire me and have broadened my view onto things.