Water Gilding for Visual Artists

A Foundation in Traditional Materials & Techniques

Students in the studio during a Water Guilding Workshop

Water Gilding for Visual Artists teaches you how to prepare and gild panels and a variety of semi flexible materials such as paper and linen. Learn how to work with gold and semi-precious leaf. Learn specific techniques for water gilding on ridged and semi flexible substrates along with demonstrations of cracked gesso, metalpoint (also known as silverpoint) and Pastiglia, a decorative type of raised gilding.

This is an introductory level course for those interested in learning the basic skills needed to work with traditional water gilding methods. You will receive five days of hands-on instruction in the practice of traditional water gilding, with an emphasis on practical techniques for surface preparation and the handling of loose leaf for gilding panels and semi flexible substrates.



Length of Study

5 days, Monday through Friday with the choice to add an additional sixth day, Saturday for extra studio time to work on and complete course projects.


Easthampton, Massachusetts USA.  At the studio of Sarah Pringle


Beginner + Intermediate

Class Size

3 people

Who it’s for

Gilders, visual artists, furniture makers, frame makers, bookbinders, illuminators, sculptors, applied artists, designers, conservators, restorers, collectors.

What you will learn

  • The various materials, tools and equipment used in water gilding
  • Comprehensive, experiential, step-by-step understanding of surface preparation using traditional gesso and bole
  • Techniques for confidently handling and applying gold and semi-precious leaf
  • What to apply for a protective finish

What you will leave with

  • Materials, tools, supply and resource lists
  • Recipes
  • A bibliography
  • Basic knowledge to pursue your own independent projects
  • Completed and partially completed samples of panels and objects you have worked on


Given the detail oriented nature of water gilding, some experience in hand/eye skills with brushes and an appreciation for technique and process is helpful.

Other Water Gilding Workshops

Water Gilding for Panels & Furniture

A Foundation in Traditional Materials & Techniques

Intermediate Panel & Furniture Gilding

Deepen your understanding of the materials and refine your use of techniques.

Methods of Embellishment, Patina & Toning

An intermediate course for developing skills and methods for surface and color work

INQUIRE with me to discuss educational resources and opportunities