Cornelissen Catalogue 2014/2015 - page 137

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Section 6
Water Gilding
A more complicated form of gilding which, unlike mordent/
oil gilding, can be burnished to a highly reflective finish.
This method
requires patience and timing is critical
in each stage of the process. Only loose leaf is
suitable for this type of gilding. It is recommended
that beginners read an informative text such as
Practical Gilding before attempting to water gild.
1. Seal area to be gilded with rabbit skin glue front
and back.
2. Apply 15-20 layers of gesso to surface using
a soft hog brush e.g. Shepherds paste brushes
page 127. Allow each layer to go dull before
applying the next coat. Sand the final layer to a
smooth finish.
3. 3-5 layers of clay bole are then brushed over the
gesso using a soft varnish brush e.g. ox lacquer
brush. Traditionally yellow bole is applied first
then red bole afterwards.
4. Warm rabbit skin glue is the next layer. This acts
as a size which the gold will stick to.
5. Immediately, the gold is placed on top using a
squirrel gilders tip. Allow each leaf to overlap
slightly. The excess may be brushed away using a
soft squirrel mop. This brush may also be used to
tamp the gold into the crevices of ornate mouldings.
6. Burnish using an agate burnisher.
To Make Rabbit Skin Glue for
Proportions : Water (13-14 parts). rabbit skin glue (1
part). Soak glue overnight. Combine ingredients and
warm in double boiler until glue dissolves. Do not boil.
To Make Rabbit Skin Glue for
In standard jam jar ¾ fill with distilled water, ¼ meths,
pinch of rabbit skin glue
To Make Gesso
There is no fixed rule about the proportion of size
to whiting. Add the whiting dry, pouring it into the
warmed rabbit skin size until a small island appear on
the surface. It is then stirred gently with a brush and
the mixture sieved to remove any lumps.
To Make Clay Bole
Add warm glue (15 parts water to 1 part rabbit skin
glue) to clay a little at a time. Stir until well dispersed
and liquid (should be the consistency of double cream)
To Make Gelatine Size
(for gilding onto glass)
In standard jam jar ¾ fill with distilled water, ¼ meths,
2-3 gelatine capsules. Warm mixture in double boiler.
Heavier metals such as silver leaf will require a stronger
size (4-5 capsules)
To Make Isinglass
Place strands in double boiler. Cover with water and
soak for 1-2 hours. Heat to approx 60ºC (do not
boil). Filter before using.
Cooking With Gold Leaf
Gold leaf may used to decorate food. Loose leaf is
1. Place a clean folded tea towel on the work surface.
Allow one gold leaf and its paper backing sheet to
fall onto work surface. Cut the backing sheet from
the book together with one gold leaf.
2. Holding the corner of the gold leaf with your thumb
nail, pick up leaf and backing sheet and carefully
invert so the leaf is flat on the tea towel. If crumpled,
gently blow on the leaf to flatten it. The leaf can
be cut into smaller pieces using a sharp knife and a
gentle sawing action
3. The leaf may be lifted using a smooth bladed
kitchen knife. Slide the flat blade under the leaf and
gently lift. Place the gold where you want it to be.
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