Who’s Who at WMODA – Claudia Bailey

Accidents do happen and when they impact pottery and porcelain it is good to have Claudia Bailey’s expertise. Claudia is a professional ceramics restorer and she has worked on WMODA projects for the last three years. She also volunteers to assist us with Collections Management projects and Saturday openings.

Claudia Bailey studied cartography in Germany and became an expert in map drawing and restoring historical maps. Her calligraphy skills were invaluable when working with rare maps from the last century. Claudia married an American and moved to Atlanta where she went back to school to learn English. She got a job as a paste-up artist in a print shop but became more interested in the antiques business next door. She began learning how to restore broken pottery and porcelain and started her own business in North Miami in 1982.

When Dania was the antiques capital of the south, Claudia was kept very busy with restoration work from all the dealers. Her business was booming and there was a year-long waiting list for her services. The major antiques shows in Miami Beach and Palm Beach brought more and more customers each year. She specialized in European porcelain which she bought, sold, and restored.

Claudia closed her shop in 1999 and moved her restoration studio to her home where she continues to work for long-standing clients. She discovered WMODA in 2017 and her knowledge of German porcelain has been very helpful in cataloging the incredible Farin collection, which was acquired that year. She also fell in love with Ardmore Ceramic Art from South Africa and cleaned all the objects on display. She was delighted to restore the pieces from the Wiener collection, which were damaged when Hurricane Irma hit New York in 2017.

Restoring ceramic art is a laborious and painstaking process and it can take many weeks to complete one piece depending on the extent of the damage. Rebuilding vases from shards, filling cracks, modeling missing parts, each stage takes many hours of work and many more for the materials to dry before intricate painting, color matching and glazing can start. Thanks to Claudia, some of the “wounded” Ardmore animals are now on display at WMODA.

Many visitors will have met Claudia during our Saturday openings, when she enters the spirit of each occasion. She was a fortune-telling gypsy at our All the Fun of the Fair event in 2019 and a flapper hostess at our Roaring Twenties event in 2020.