Friday, July 27, 2007

Some Thoughts on Gilding...

...Some years ago I was told by a reputable source that true Armerian Bole could no longer be had. The bole we often use today is German or french primarily but Armenian bole - ah, there's something special. Well, after 15 or so years I find out from a Russian gilder that Armenian Bole is not only available but he ordered some for me from his supplier! I'll report back here when I get it and let you know how it appears, feels, smells and, of course, how it burnishes.

Helping another colleague edit her upcoming book on gilding. Need to keep things under wraps for the moment but look for something along the lines of verre eglomise. This should be good...

Venturing forth into architectural gilding, a somewhat different approach to the requirements of gilding and restoring picture frames but the same techniques. Required samples are different. Instead of rabbet sizes to measure there's blueprints. Next month I'll be gilding some custom moulding around the ceiling in a powder room, water gilding with 12k white gold to provide a segue between the black granite walls and the ceiling. Perhaps I can post a photo here when done.

Technically speaking for those of you interested, I've found an attractiveness to the use of Italian rabbit skin glue when preparing bole for water gilding. It seems softer than the German pebble which I have used for years. I am also finding hide glue to offer quite a brilliant burnish. Sometimes early tests like these show promise in the beginning and peter-out as time goes by. Something else for me to report back to you about after using these materials a little longer.

Decided to offer once again the two-day traditional water gilding class for people who wish to immerse themselves in the craft for a full weekend but may not need to do it for three days. Its been a popular format in the past and trust that it will meet the needs of students on a tight schedule but passionate nonetheless. Stay tuned to the class schedule at for dates and times. The next workshop is August 25 & 26.

More to come...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Gilding Thoughts for Today

As editor of The Gilder's Tip, the International Journal of the Society of Gilders, I get to correspond with some pretty interesting people in the gilding field. The issue we're working on now doesn't go out to members until January, 2008 - but time does fly. In it will be a wonderful article by a gilder in Chicago who specializes in the water gilding of harps and a paper by Jerry Tresser on a qualitative study of Cennini concerning slaked plaster.

The journal currently only goes to members so if you're interested, better sign up as a member with the SOG. Our 20th year anniversary is next year so there will be a special Summer '08 edition, just before our next gilding event at the Smithsonian next Fall! ~

Meanwhile, I am going to re-introduce my special two-day traditional water gilding class to be held at my new studio location in Green Lake at the northeast end of Seattle. It's an intensive two days, exploring all 12 steps of the water gilding process for frames, furniture, and decorative elements. I'd also like to incorporate an after class trip to the new Seattle Art Museum to view the Italian gilded frame collection. So, keep your eye on the schedule.

Today's gilding tip: always think through your projects slowly and carefully before applying materials and quoting prices. It's a complicated craft so you want to make sure you give yourself the best chance for success by taking your time and considering all the angles, reviewing samples, getting as much info up front as possible. I've gilded many different objects over the last twenty some-odd years - from glass doors and metal domes to 17th c sconces and early American frames. Each object has a story to tell and brings it's own challenges. Take your time when time allows.