Cleaning and maintenance of your Kachina doll:
Use an artist paintbrush to brush away any dust that has accumulated, this is the only way to actually clean your doll.
Do Not use any form of liquid or even a damp cloth as this will melt the kaolin white clay ‘duma’ base. For instance: A woman came in with 2 dolls that her housekeeper had ‘cleaned’ with Windex, the result was a catastrophe, they looked like a clown after he’d been sprayed with a garden hose or just plain bad mascara after you’d been crying all day.
As for repairs to a doll that has been dropped or purchased with missing parts, go to a professional. I have been repairing Kachinas and wood carvings since 1980. I’ve gone so far as to travel to the Hopi mesas and ask permission to repair certain items and have been granted access to gathering materials for the repairs.
Bad glue (such as Gorilla Glue) leads to more complications down the road, such as staining and misalignment of the pieces.
Lost pieces can be replaced. Feathers can also be replaced, but if you start to see tell tale signs of feather damage place your doll in direct sunlight for a few days, turning him in all 4 directions each day, this should kill most feather mites. If you can place the doll into a sealed plastic bag this will speed the process of killing the mites.
Often times a broken foot is a good indicator of age and of your doll being the real deal. Feet are the first part of a doll to break when played with, usually the toe tip winds up lost, this too can be replaced.
I’m not big on attaching dolls to bases of any sort, I prefer a kachina to be hung on a wall usually over a window or doorway. Try to resist the ‘southwest’ style of hanging them over the fireplace or placing them onto a fireplace mantel, the heat and smoke will eventually do irreparable damage.
I have repaired Kachinas and Santos for some of the Best Collectors and Museums. People have been finding me by word of mouth, I am careful and patient. Removing excessive old glue repairs is just one of the things I do. Gathering the correct materials is also a time consuming aspect of the repair work.
For repair service please contact us at:
Two Graces, PO Box 1587, Ranchos de Taos, NM 87557
We are located in the historic district of Taos at 105 Barela Lane