L’Infinité by Joann de Morges

It’s easy to forget with all the interior decorating uses that we showcase that gold leaf has a long history in art – after all, for all of human history the lustre of gold has been one of the most alluring and intoxicating colours. It’s no small wonder that gold has been a staple of artwork for millennia with it’s scintillating finish has come to represent purity, warmth and incorruptibility.

Joann de Morges is a Swiss artist who specialises in bringing out these true meanings and spirits of materials by using it in new and interesting ways and her latest piece, L’infinite, is no different, making clever use of gold and Swarovski crystals to represent the glorious past, happy present and bright future of the United Arab Emirates. The gold finish clearly represents not only the opulence and wealth of culture of the Emirates but also it’s future, a glittering and untarnished one that will last until infinity, giving the piece it’s name – L’Infinité.

To view more of Joann’s work or to learn more about her you can visit her website - JoannDeMorges.com

 

Gorgeous Interior Gilding At The Old Bakery, Corfu

 

The Kitchen of The Old BakeryThis fantastic piece of interior gilding comes to us care of Julian and Claire Butler, two talented ex-pats who are currently living in idyllic Corfu, and it shows how a splash of gold can turn an otherwise drab architectural feature into a centrepiece!

This was originally just a concrete pillar in the kitchen of a charming, converted bakery that they have turned into a holiday home  and measures nearly 3m high and over 5m across! As you can imagine it was quite the labour of love gilding it but it was definitely worth it – the pictures hardly do it justice but imagine how it must sparkle in the lush Corfu sun! Or, even better than that, you can see it for yourself by hiring The Old Bakery for a summer break in Corfu, you can find more details here - www.selfcateringcorfu.com

This project was completed in imitation gold which you can buy from us here - Imitation Gold and for more information on getting started with gilding check out our Beginners Guide To Gilding!

Sue Govani takes a Gilding course with Richard Walker at Watergild Studios, Havant.

Here at Gold Leaf Supplies we have years of knowledge gleaned from our experience and contacts with gilders and other trade specialists during our forty years of business. I myself have a background in Art & Design and have completed quite a few gilding projects, mainly glass gilding (verre eglomise) but there was one area of gilding that we have often had people enquire about but had no practical experience – water gilding.

Water gilding is an old technique that, at its most basic, involves laying gold leaf over a surface built up from layers of gesso and bole. The bole gives a smooth, flexible surface that allows the use of an agate burnish to polish the surface of the gilding to give a bright, mirror finish. As I found out though, there’s a world of difference between knowing ABOUT water gilding and knowing HOW to water gild! My experience, particularly with all the preparation work that has to be done before you even get to the gilding has left me with nothing but total respect for the artisans who have learned and honed this craft to its utmost.

As a total novice to water gilding I needed a great teacher to introduce me to the art, thankfully one of our lovely clients offered to help me out! Richard Walker of Watergild Studios is a fantastic gilder and teacher who had offered me one-to-one lessons! Unfortunately our schedules always seemed to conflict and it wasn’t until now after Richard had come back from a wildly successful teaching tour in the US that we were able to meet. So along to Portsmouth I went, along with some blank frames generously donated by John Mitchell from Robel Framing (http://www.thelatenovembergallery.co.uk/), who had known I wanted to learn to gild for quite some time and put together some frames for me!

Richard is a natural teacher and a real people person, so easy to get on with and has an incredible knowledge of the gilding and restoration trade and pretty much anything else you care to throw at him! He has a wicked sense of humour and makes the course fun as well as educational! I can see why his courses are such a success. Each year Richard takes quite a large class at the Chippendale International School of Furniture for two weeks and he has some very amusing anecdotes from his times spent there.

When it came to our course, Richard had the patience of a saint – especially when I said that I wanted to learn everything! Over the two days I learned so much from Richard, least of all just how much hard graft goes into each and every water gilded piece! There’s a lot of preparation that needs to be done when it comes to water gilding including layering gesso and bole and Richard didn’t let me off the hook here – I had to apply all ten layers of gesso and five layers of bole by myself to my frame, along with carefully sanding and rubbing back on each coat to achieve a perfect, silky smooth surface. Unfortunately, being a beginner my first tries were less than perfect! Richard helpfully pointed out the ‘dings’, or imperfections, in the surface and sent me away with Wet & Dry paper in hand to smooth them out. I had always heard and read about how involved water gilding was but it’s another thing to experience it first hand! The final finish though is well worth all the effort spent, that gorgeous mirror finish makes it all worth it.

The preparation of the frame swallowed up all of day one and after a restful evening at the Langstone Hotel, Portsmouth, it was back into the studio at 8 am on the Saturday, I still had a lot of sanding still to do if I was going to be able to lay my leaf on the frame later that day! We took a little detour mid morning to a lovely community centre not too far from Richard’s studio where he was offering support in the way of teaching specialist paint techniques to a great group of teenagers involved in the “Strong Voices Project”. They were incredible young people and had produced some wonderful up-cycled furniture and other items. I didn’t have any time to pick up any of their techniques, I still had too much sanding to do on my frame!

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity of a sanding we got to the point that I was finally able to lay the leaf. The whole process has been eye-opening, I had always assumed the most crucial part of the process was the leaf-laying when in fact it’s the painstaking preparation beforehand that contributes the most to the final product. With the gold on the frame it was already starting to take shape but unfortunately my time with Richard was coming to a close! With a few words of advice regarding burnishing, I headed back to Gold Leaf Supplies with my frame and a armful of other samples we’d managed to prepare over the two days – Richard is a veritable treasure trove of knowledge and we somehow managed to find time to discuss and make samples of oil gilding, a verdigris effect created by ageing copper leaf with bleach, ageing and distressing gold and imitation leaf, scraffifto with egg tempera and made a scagliola panel.

After a spot of burnishing back home I must say I’m pretty pleased with the result! It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but it’s mine and I spent hours on it! This project was definitely a learning experience and I’m hoping to meet with more of our customers to learn some more ins-and-outs of the trade, so watch this space!

The happy gilders taking a well-deserved break

The happy gilders taking a well-deserved break

Richard, incidentally, has started on the exciting journey of writing a book – and none too soon in our opinion! The finished book promises to talk about all areas of gilding, from the historical background of gilding right down to information about the tools, processes, techniques and materials involved. There will also be an assorted range of step-by-step projects in all three disciplines, so that you can fully immerse yourself into gilding and improve your skills as you go along!  We wish him all the best with this and are very much looking forward to seeing the book published!

Customer Experiences – Francesca & Her Son’s Wedding Cake!

Here at Gold Leaf Supplies we have the pleasure of dealing with many customers each and every day, trying to guide them and and advise them through the project they’re are looking to undertake. We’re always especially pleased when a customer takes the time to get back to us afterwards and tell us how it went. This is one such story, written by a customer about her experience in making a wedding cake for her son’s wedding.

cake-body“This project felt like one of the most important things I have ever undertaken.
I was really privileged when my son and future daughter in law asked if I would make their wedding cake.
I had 18 months to plan and create the cake which I wanted to be really special for them.  I created a special recipe for the fruit cake by listening carefully to what everyone liked and combining the list of ingredients.  Luckily the recipe held together and produced a taste everyone was pleased with. No doubt it will become one of those secret family recipes!
The next stage was to design the four-tier cake.
I had in mind to make by hand all the decorations on the cake, apart from a Swarovski crystal butterfly topper. The roses were made out of sugar-paste and in order to get a natural movement in the flowers, each petal was wired separately. This was a magical process, taking a packet of icing sugar plus a few additional ingredients, and ending up with many roses of different shapes and sizes, each one unique with its own character!
The concept was starting to evolve. The colour theme was white on white. The cake stand was vintage with silver finish which added some extra detail. However, I felt that something more could really make the cake stand out.
Thanks to the Internet I was able to search for more ideas and realised that a gold leaf tier was becoming very popular for wedding cake designs. My searching also brought me to Gold Leaf Supplies website. There seemed to be many beautiful products, all available in one place and I made an order straight away. The items were delivered the next morning.
The first problem was that I didn’t have a clue how I was going to execute this next stage. I asked around but received conflicting advice and I really wanted to make sure I made good use of the beautiful gold leaf.
In the end I decided to call Gold Leaf Supplies directly for advice. Initially I spoke to a gentleman who talked me through a technique for applying the transfer gold leaf. He was very helpful and the advice resulted in a successful application. By slightly dampening the fondant icing with water to make it slightly tacky, the transfer gold leaf was easy to apply and went on smoothly.
As this was my first attempt, there were some gaps in the coverage and I decided to order more gold leaf as I was pleased with the gold effect on the tier, which was starting to look really good. The only problem I could see was how to apply another layer without removing the gold already on the fondant. I called Gold Leaf Supplies again and spoke to Sue who was really lovely. She talked through some options and again my order was with me the following day.
In order to dampen the surface of the cake which now had gold leaf applied, I ran a basin of very hot water and left the cake in the steamy room for around ten minutes. This slightly dampened the surface and with strips cut out of the transfer leaves, the gold leaf went on beautifully, covering any gaps.
I must say Sue was amazing. She must be dealing with people all over the world with projects much bigger than mine, but she made me feel that the success of this cake was as important to her as it was to me. Thank you Sue!
The final stage was to take the four tiers separately and build up the tiered cake at the lovely wedding venue Pegwell Bay Hotel.
All went smoothly to plan apart from one hitch. The venue is in a fabulous location right on the sea and when I arrived there was a gale blowing. As I carefully removed one of the cake boxes from the car a huge gust of wind swept the lid off the cake box and then continued to destroy the remaining box. To my horror I was left battling the elements with the pristine gold tier in my bare hands. I managed to hang onto it but inevitably there was some damage to the finish. Luckily I came equipped with a repair kit including my spare gold leaf. With more confidence this time, I reapplied pieces of transfer gold, I had after all done this before! The sea spray had conveniently moistened the surface of the cake so no need for steaming bowls of water.
All was well once more and I had all the components, four tiers, including the gold leaf tier, plus a spare, countless sugar roses, ribbons flecked with silver and gold, hand-stitched onto muslin strips to tie in the gold leaf and silver cake stand. The addition of some tiny seed pearls to the middle ribbon added extra interest. I sourced the Ribbons by Nkuku from Indigo in Oxford.
All that had to be done now was to assemble the tiers and create the final piece. This took a day and a half as each flower had to be carefully placed.
The most important thing for me was that my son and daughter-in-law were pleased with their wedding cake. They had after all made an act of faith in asking me to do this for them!
The look on their faces as they cut the cake confirms that were very happy. The photograph by the event photographer Shaun Madden and edited by the bride herself!”
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Contemporary Glass Gilding by Emma Peascod – Gilded Panels for the Restaurant ‘Spring’ of Somerset House

We’ve featured Emma in our blog before and we’re unashamedly fans of her work. Emma has her own artistic flair when it comes to verre eglomise and incorporates a wide variety of influences and techniques into a style that is undoubtedly Emma’s own. This gorgeous piece of is made up of five large glass panels, each one hand gilded by Emma with a mix of layers of 22ct gold, silver leaf, Japanese papers and pigments. The incorporation of traditional Japanese paper or washi is a motif in Emma’s work, lending her pieces depth and texture over traditionally gilded pieces.

Gilded pieces like these fabulous panels make for eye-catching backdrops and features, more-so than traditional painted pieces – the shine of the metal reflects the tone and colour of the room, drawing the eye to it while imparting the space with with the warmth of the gold, leaving it feeling brighter and livelier. This particular piece now stands as a stunning backdrop in the reception area of ‘Spring’ at Somerset House, the new restaurant headed by Skye Gingell, and as you can see it’s a very inviting piece that captivates your attention.

To view more of Emma’s work you can visit her website, StudioPeascod.com

‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’

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For months this thought-provoking memorial to the tragedy and heroism of the fallen soldiers of World War 1, ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’, has been making headlines. The large-scale installation consists of thousands of individually hand-made ceramic poppies that have then been planted in the Tower of London, each one representing the ultimate sacrifice made by a member of the British armed services during World War One. The memorial has grown to encircle the Tower of London, filling the moat in a poignant sea of blood red, evoking the tragedy of the war.

This project has been the brainchild of Paul Cummins who we’ve had the pleasure with of working with in the past. Taking inspiration from a line in the will of a Derby native who went off to fight in the Great War only to tragically lose his life in Flanders. He wrote: ‘The Blood Swept lands and seas of red, where angels fear to tread.’, a line that serves as a tragic reminder of the horrors those who have given and continue to give their all for their country have suffered.

Each of 888,426 poppies have now been sold with the proceeds of each sale going towards charities supporting brave men and women who have served, or are currently serving, the country. The final poppy will be planted in a ceremony on Armistice Day, November 11th.

All poppies have now been sold but if you have a loved one who has served or is currently serving in the British Armed Forces or if you simply wish to make a donation you can leave a dedication on the Tower of London Remembers website here: https://poppies.hrp.org.uk/make-a-dedication

Spook Things Up For Halloween With This Ghoulish Glow In A Can!

 

glowing_pumpkin_717x747This halloween make your pumpkins and other spooky bits and bobs glow in the dark with Rustoleum Glow In The Dark Spray Paint!

This easy to apply spray paint goes on a variety of substrates and is quick drying and easy to apply. When charged in light the glow in the dark paint can continue to let off it’s spooky glow for up to 4 – 8 hours and is suitable for use both indoors and outdoors.

Check it out here in our store!glow-in-the-dark-300x450

 

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Decorex 2014 – Another Inspiring Interiors Exhibition!

Decorex International is a renowned event for discovering the very best in luxury design – the exhibitors at Decorex are the trendsetters when it comes to contemporary British design and our yearly visits with Elaine from DKT Artworks are a pilgrimage to this pinnacle of design excellence.

Always good to meet with old friends and discover new. We are complete magpies for all that is gold and silver but it was also good to see some of the other interesting work and designs in the marketplace, using a variety of different mediums.

This year, Decorex has sponsored various artists for live demonstrations of their craft and skills and it added a real artisan feel to this high end design Exhibition.

Below are just some of our clients who were exhibiting at Decorex this year. Click on their pictures to visit their websites to see more of their work!

A Gorgeous, Gilded Wedding Cake by ‘Caked by Sophie’

sophie-wedding-cake

This elegant, refined wedding cake was created by Sophie of ‘Caked by Sophie’ and finished with edible, genuine gold gilding. Alongside traditional cakes Sophie also makes some truly stunning replica cakes of pretty much anything imaginable. Check out her Facebook page for more pictures of fantastic looking cakes and sugarcraft creations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But gold needn’t be just for cakes. In fact with Christmas coming up you might consider adding a little flair to your festive meals and decorations with some genuine edible gold or silver leaf. Below are just a few ideas of what to do with edible gold and silver leaf, check out more in our edible gold and silver leaf inspiration section.

Click here to visit our edible gold and silver leaf section on our website.

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Deco Noir’s Art Deco-Inspired Bar – A Stylish Use of Gold Leaf (As Seen In Vogue Magazine!)

The opulence and luxury of the Roaring Twenties lives in in this Art Deco-inspired, vintage themed bar – we supplied the leaf for the gilded ceiling which is something of a hallmark of this style, with it’s incorporation of bright, vivid colour and metallic surfaces and the rest of the fittings themselves are period-inspired. But the most surprising, most standout thing about this bar is the fact that it’s on wheels!

The entire bar has been built inside the body of a restored, vintage Airstream Whale-Tail trailer made in 1958 and is the brainchild of Samantha, Deco Noir’s MD. Lola, as she’s come to be known, was born of her passion for both jazz and interior design and harkens back to the roots of jazz in a simpler, more fun time.

Lola is available for hire for your events and brings a memorable splash of 1920′s hedonism to any party, wedding reception or event. For more details on how to hire Lola please contact Deco Noir at contact@deconoirevents.com or check out their website at www.deconoirevents.com!