On Thursday November 20th five BHT clients participated in a workshop to learn the ancient craft of gilding. Clients learnt about the application of gold leaf in a heritage context and experimented with a range of materials and effects to create their own pieces.
We initially brushed an even coat of varnish on a wood panel and applied Copper and Dutch Gold leaf, overlapping the sheets by 5mm to avoid gaps. The sheets were then dabbed down using cotton wool to fuse the metal to the varnish. While drying, we applied a coat of varnish to the outside and inner edges of a picture frame and applied Copper & Zinc sheets. The excess material was dusted off using a brush.
Next, we painted a pattern onto the gilded wooden panel using varnish. Clients chose to paint a hare, a smiley face, a house and the roof of the Royal Pavilion. Once the varnish had dried and become tacky Aluminium and Dutch Gold were laid over the varnish to bring out the pattern.
We then returned to the picture frames and applied Dutch Gold to the remaining surfaces. To finish the piece we gilded the glass pane using gelatine water. As White Gold is much finer than the other materials we were using we were unable to use our fingers as the metal would have simply fused with our skin. A gilding knife was used to cut the White Gold into 4 pieces and a squirrel-hair brush was required to pick up the square and place it on the glass pane. We continued this action until the whole pane was covered – a process that sounds far simpler than it is in practice! Once covered, we used brushes to remove the excess Gold and painted the back of the glass pane with black paint, to create an antique-effect mirror.
Really good fun and informative! Useful for possible future projects