My previous post was about learning to make cyanotype prints in a day; this time I want to tell you about something that took me a while longer to learn. I had been intrigued by Verre Églomisé (the technique of gilding onto glass to produce a mirror finish) for a long time so was very excited to find an introductory course with the wonderful Rian Kanduth at the City & Guilds of London Art School earlier this year. I enrolled as soon as they opened for applications and then waited for months until it was my turn to go to Summer school for a most enjoyable five days. School was never this much fun when I was a child…
We spent most of the first two days learning to apply 23-kt gold leaf to glass using mostly water, and I’m happy to say that the intriguing Verre Églomisé did not disappoint. In fact, it’s the closest to magic I have experienced as far as art techniques are concerned. Difficult to believe that the very ethereal gold leaf will adhere to glass with water plus a minuscule amount of gelatine, but it does! Of course it’s not easy and we all spent a great deal of the time trying not to breathe while concentrating hard on travelling the short distance from gilding pad to glass carrying intact pieces of leaf. Once this first step was accomplished, we learned to carve a line drawing through the gilded leaf, and this was my first attempt:
Next, I tried a combination of painting followed by gilding and drawing. I picked a couple of motifs from a sketchbook and chose to use acrylics instead of the more traditional enamel, as I’m not a fan of oil-based paints. This was a less successful experiment perhaps, as I feel the painted balls look rather crude next to the delicately drawn man, but nevertheless I could see the possibilities offered by the extra layer of paint.
We also had the opportunity of learning to gild using oil medium, and inspired by the man with gilded testicles and nipples that stands above the School’s patio, I wanted to try this on something three-dimensional, though of course less ambitious than a life-size statue.
I was thrilled to find some spare dolls’ hands in the studio that evening – if we haven’t met yet you may think this an odd choice, but if we have it will probably be obvious to you that I’d want to gild dolls’ hands…. They were enamelled first, then allowed to dry for a day, oil medium applied and after a short while, finally and nerve-rackingly gilded.
After the five days of Summer School were over, I continued to experiment with both methods and what I have really got into is gilding old plastic dolls! This was far from being my intention prior to taking part in the course, but once you try a new technique there’s no way of knowing how things will develop…
These two altered dolls are the start of a collection I’m currently developing, and they are available in the shop. Below you can see how they looked originally – I hope you’ll agree they are much improved now!
ARTIST & MAKER
My work is often humorous and whimsical – unless my romantic side takes over and then we enter into a fairy-tale territory of old-fashioned script, pages of books and music scores populated by chivalrous gentlemen, glamorous ladies, butterflies and rabbits.
LEARN WITH ME
Would you like to explore your creative side? I use the wonderful techniques of decoupage and collage in much of my work, and now I can teach you how to create your very own masterpieces!