MASON, Mich. — Mother of four Heather Bishop of Stockbridge quit her job as a nurse's aide the November before COVID hit due to babysitting issues. But, a few months ago, she discovered what she calls her saving grace: giving new life to old statues.
"My mom had a statue and I absolutely hated it. I absolutely hated it ever since I was a kid," Bishop laughed.
She decided she was going to repaint the statue.
"After that I just kind of got the idea like, maybe there's other people out there that have ugly statues that they kind of want to just breathe new life into," Bishop said.
She was onto something.
Steven Dunn found Bishop on a Stockbridge community Facebook page after she posted her work. Dunn's grandfather emigrated from Lithuania to the U.S. with a dream and an 80-pound statue of the Virgin Mary. After all these years, Dunn wanted the statue restored as a surprise for his mother.
"They didn't have a lot of money, so whenever he painted this -- Heather said there were six or eight layers of paint on here. Like, regular, old house paint," Dunn said. "It muted the detail from the mold, you know, way back when. So, I thought she was just standing on clouds. I didn't know there were stars, I couldn't tell that that was a snake."
Dunn said he didn't expect the level of detail that Bishop added to the statue.
"I was expecting you know, just blue, white, whatever. But she really got into detail. She put these shadows where a shadow would be," Dunn said.
Bishop said she's, "essentially a single mom."
"I do this, you know, all day every day," Bishop said. "Actually, most of the time when I'm painting, I have him on my knee and I'm just bouncing."
Bishop does all her restorations by hand. She said she thinks other statue restoration artists airbrush their restorations.
"You can't really get in there to the fine detail, like I do," Bishop said. "So, I get these dinky, little brushes and I just get right in there, and I mean, the girls can tell you. I spend a lot of hours doing it...and then I research it, too. You know, some of it I had to recreate."
At first, it was a way for her to make ends meet. Now, with 10 projects under her belt, it's a small business that she is thinking of calling Medusa's Friends.
"Medusa would turn people to stone so if you think about it her early friends were statuary," Bishop laughed.
Bishop said you can reach out to her on her personal Facebook page until her business page and website are up and running, which should be in the next few weeks.
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