Learn the historic and traditional techniques for two loose leaf gilding methods, water and oil gilding, as used on furniture, frames, metal, glass, stone, wood, cut lettering, architecture and in fine art, as well as numerous other decorative applications. You are introduced to these two traditional methods as applied to new surfaces. For those wanting to further the techniques in creative art practice, innovative gesso applications and gilding types can be experimented with, to further your practice in a new way.
The use of gold leaf as a decorative surface is as old as the Pharaohs, and the methods and materials have changed very little, although gilding's scope and application is now very broad. The course is designed with the beginner or improver in mind, and although gilding is a slow process, the basic skills should be grasped within the course.
Water gilding is used for finely toned and burnished surfaces, including new picture/mirror frames and MDF panels as used during the course, but the techniques may be applied to furniture, architectural ornamentation, wooden sculpture, lettering, icons, painting panels and decorative art objects, amongst many other applications. Using traditional materials and methods, you will be guided through all stages of preparation including the making and application of gesso, coloured bole and the laying, burnishing and tooling of loose leaf gold (and other precious metal leaf) using the water gilding technique. You will prepare and water gild one frame supplied by the College and some MDF sample panels. You are welcome to bring your own new frame and new wooden piece if you wish to work on this as well, but it may not be completed within the course time.
Oil gilding is the less labour intensive technique, and lends itself to a myriad of applications. It is used where burnished and subtle distressing of the bright gilding is not required. It is commonly, though not exclusively, also found on exterior work, and on any material. You may gild any small objects you bring, including small boxes or small decorative objects, panels, mouldings, shells, painted or japanned (western lacquer) surfaces, leather, metal, plastics, dried leaves, textiles, stone and wood: a wide range of materials can be oil-gilded. Experience the cutting and laying of loose leaf gold, and learn how to incorporate the traditional oil gilding techniques into decorative objects you will bring. We can assess objects for suitability on the first evening. You may also want to incorporate both types of gilding on your new frame, or make a series of test panels to illustrate the possibilities.
The course is delivered with practical application at the bench following demonstrations and short talks, and group and individual tuition allows for all levels of interest. There may also be a tour of the gilding in the historic rooms at West Dean (if accessible during the course) to illustrate our subject. You will leave with a water gilded frame and test samples and several oil gilded pieces.
It is important to note that the course is designed as a practical introduction to water and oil gilding for new surfaces, and that restoration and conservation of gilded surfaces cannot be undertaken as part of this course, although the tutor is willing to discuss potential projects outside the course.
Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above
Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.
6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).
8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.
Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.
From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).
Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.
Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.
Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.
(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)
Please note: the following are supplied for use during the course: Gesso made by the tutor prior to the course Round ox hair brush or nylon No. 8 or 6, ½" Flat nylon or ox hair brush, Flat hog hair brush S40 ½" No 1 or 2 round sable brush, Round pony hair or squirrel No 8 'Tiranti' filling spatula No. 46
"The course was held in an amazing setting, with the gardens and open landscapes around the college. The studio we worked in was a great space, with a small class which meant you could ask the tutor questions about your work individually. The tutor was extremely experienced and knowledgeable in her field."Lisa, 2019
Following graduation in Conservation from Brighton and the City and Guilds of London Art School, studying in Italy and Germany, Judy established her reputation working on gilding, japanning, polychrome and period paint. She is a Churchill Fellow, and 2015 winner of the Lord Balfour of Burleigh Award for Excellence in Craftsmanship. She is passionate about her work, and her infectious enthusiasm has led her to teach in many institutions. Her life's-work portfolio is impressive, and includes work for National Trust, English Heritage; Royal Collections; Globe theatre; Churches and Cathedrals; Guildhall Art Gallery and numerous private clients.