The Paul Taylor Dance Company contacted me to perform repairs on a prop stuffed turkey that was 44 years old! It was first used in a performance of “Orbs” in 1966. 44 is very old for an item made out of latex rubber, and I started my restoration by carefully trimming away all of the rubber that had hardened and become brittle. Quite a bit needed to be removed, since the turkey was left hanging in a window and the areas which were exposed to sunlight were especially deteriorated. One of the legs had broken away entirely, and the head had shattered and was missing a large chunk.
I rebuilt the head with polyurethane foam, and added new stuffing to bring the turkey back into turkey-shape. The body had become flattened and wrinkled over time, so I needed to cut away the worst of the wrinkles, and patch over these areas with bandages made out of gauze and liquid latex. I stitched together the holes in the old latex, and bandaged over the repairs to blend them in with the turkey’s skin.
Finally, I painted the turkey with a coat of tinted latex and the old bird was ready to take to the stage.