Gold and semi-precious leaf have been gilded onto surfaces for centuries, used across cultures and around the world.
Water gilding is an elegant and methodical process made up of sequential steps. It begins by applying 8-10 coats of traditional gesso, made from calcium carbonate and rabbit skin glue, to build up the ground. Then you apply bole, made of very fine pigment and rabbit skin glue. The bole introduces color and acts as an adhesive, creating the surface on which the artist uses water and brushes to carefully and precisely lay the leaf.
The nuanced process of water gilding is simple in its properties, but not necessarily easy to accomplish — it takes reliable recipes, practical demonstrations and practice. What makes this type of gilding so special is the outcome. Because water gilding allows you to introduce multiple layers of color, you can achieve greater depth for a more complex and lustrous finish.
Over the course of my career, I have used water gilding to apply semi-precious and gold leaf to a variety of objects, ranging from sculptures to contemporary furniture. I teach reliable methods for creating tonal variation in your gilding and for enhancing the integrity of the material. These methods show you techniques for using pigments and washes to create exquisitely gilded surfaces and works of art.
Foundation:Introduction to Traditional Materials & Techniques
Foundation teaches the basics of working with gold and semi-precious leaf. Learn techniques for water gilding on panels and small three dimensional objects.
Intermediate:More Complex Methods in Water Gilding
Intermediate teaches more complex ways of working with bole, leaf and pigment to achieve more depth and tonal variation, creating patina and pattern. Learn techniques for gilding an array of shapes and forms.
INQUIRE with me to discuss educational resources and opportunities