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 multiple 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 gilder uses water and a 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 many possibilities for gilded finishes; from a highly burnished lustrous gild to complex patinated finishes comprised of layers of transparent pigments applied to the leaf for depth and tonal variation.
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.
Water Gilding 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.
Water Gilding Intermediate:More Complex Methods in Water Gilding
Intermediate teaches more complex ways of working with bole, leaf and pigments to achieve more depth and tonal variation, creating patina and pattern. Learn techniques for gilding an array of shapes and forms.
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