Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ready for Gilding

After countless hours of preparatory work the frame is ready for it's 22 karat, gold leaf coat.  This is what it looks like now:

   It's doesn't really appear that way but there are about 6 coats of French Yellow clay that will be the base color.  I then added two coats of French Red clay on the carving and sight edge.  It appears to be more green and purple than yellow and red but that's what it is!  I must admit to some apprehension about this next phase of the frame.  There are a couple of videos on YouTube showing the process.  One in particular by CJ Frames is just amazing!  Their gilder handles that gold like it's nothing but if you've ever tried it you know it's quite a process.  I've become proficient at laying Dutch gold which is an oil based process.  The gold is considerably  thicker and I have very little problems even laying a full sheet at a time.  This you can touch with your fingers and it won't disintegrate.  Twenty-two karat gold, on the other hand, will fall to pieces should you look at it cross-eyed or dare to breathe on it.  I did some test pieces and feel like my technique is coming along but the next 5 hours or so will tell.  I do the gilding in what used to be the kids bathroom.  I have a humidifier going and try to achieve at least 50% humidity but it's hard when it's only 7-8% outside.  The air conditioner vent is closed off with a magnetized piece of vinyl and I wear anti-static gloves to fight that problem too.  The process is to wet a section of the frame with what's referred to as "gilders liquor" (water and denatured alcohol), then use your gilders brush to pick up a piece of gold and, simply drop it in place onto the frame without moving, sneezing, breathing, or even the slightest flinch!!!  Since this molding is about 4" wide and measures 16" x 20" at the sight edge I can look forward to a long, hopefully successful day of gilding.  Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter Sunday.

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