Currently showing in Gallery Thirty Three in Wanaka is Kate Alterio’s latest collection – Walk Between Worlds. This collection consists of 10 pieces, each one brought to life through countless hours of work – including hand-painting and gilding. ‘Beneath It All We Are Dancing’ contains over 721 individual elements, each of which were painted with 7 coats and ‘Hum’ contains 721 individual elements, all of which were gold-leafed by hand. The meticulous process of creating these pieces of the greater whole is described as being an ‘…opportunity for meditative practice, calling for presence, focus, care and patience.’. The process and attention to detail of this process is imbued into works, giving them a life and energy that is more than the sum of their parts.
Visiting Decorex International is always something to look forward to each year – a chance to catch up with clients and to meet new faces in the design world. There are so many great design ideas on show and we always come away feeling very inspired and upbeat. And the location, Syon Park in Brentford, couldn’t be lovelier!
This year will be special for a number of reasons. Apart from Decorex celebrating its 40th year, we are also very excited to be involved with the consultation and supply of gold leaf for part of the magnificent chandelier which will be the centrepiece of the Decorex Champagne Bar designed by award winning designer Shalini Misra in collaboration with Clartes of Bohemia and Erfre of London. The theme for the exhibition this year is the celebration of the Great British exhibition in 1851, the first international exhibition of manufactured products so we are looking forward to an elaborately decorated Champagne bar!
The gilded wooden parakeets making up part of the huge chandelier called “Paradise Fountain” were expertly carved and gilded by one of our clients, master carver and gilder Paul Wilson (@paulwilson_woodcarver_gilder). Paul has over 30 years of knowledge and experience with traditional gilding methods and has worked on the most prestigious projects around the world including the Royal Households and the restoration of Windsor Castle to name a few.
Following the lead from fashion Industry brands like Armani and Net-a-porter this month who are going fur-free, the gilder’s brief was to produce a high gloss gilded finish without the use of any animal products, so the rabbit-skin glue often used in traditional water gilding methods was a no-no.
The challenge from top designer, Theo Vanderzalm – who is coordinating the design of the Chandelier, was for Paul to create a high gloss gilded finish but to keep the project entirely vegan. Here, following consultation, we recommended an alternative gold size – Instacoll by Kölner! After many years of research, they formulated a secret recipe that does not use any animal products, yet performs extremely well, producing either a very high gloss gild or elegant matt gild. Instacoll stands the test of time and as proof, is used extensively for exterior gilding projects – The statue of Victoria on top of the Victory column in Berlin, gilded using Instacoll Gloss is a perfect example, having been gilded over 20 years ago.
Paul, who is entirely used to traditional gilding techniques took up the challenge and mastered the technique of Instacoll application producing the fabulous results below. He was very circumspect about the product at first but had to admit that the results were very good and he would certainly use this size for specific projects in the future. At Gold Leaf Supplies we aim to offer gilders a wide range of materials to work with to suit all projects. Kölner gilding products are not designed to replace traditional water gilding or oil gilding techniques but as a complement to them and so we offer the complete range. The carved and gilded parrots do indeed show off the Instacoll product and its outstanding capabilities.
The gold leaf used in this project was chosen for its excellent quality and perfect tone to match in with other elements of the chandelier – German caplain leaf manufactured by Noris Blattgold in Schwabach, Germany. The managing director at Noris confirmed that there are no animal products used now in the beating process of the leaf, so the leaf is also vegan!
Well done Paul, you smashed the brief! We can’t wait to see the chandelier all complete and assembled at Decorex this weekend.
Photos of the completed Chandelier to follow in a few days…
It pleases us to announce that starting this month we are now the exclusive UK distributor for Kölner products! Starting from today we will stock and distribute their range of high-end, German-made gilding products.
Our relationship with Kölner started with a workshop in London last winter. An enthusiastic group of our most talented clients braved the freezing weather to take a class in gilding using the Kölner Instacoll Gilding System. Peter Voshart, one of the owners of Kölner demonstrated this and Kölner’s other innovative gilding products. Under his expert tutelage the class was treated to a demonstration of finishes possible using Kölner’s revolutionary products.
Our clients have years of experience with traditional gilding and products. In spite of this, Peters infections enthusiasm and confidence in his product soon swayed even the most dubious of them. The initial apprehension on how well the product would work vanished as soon as Peter guided them through their first application of the Instacoll Gilding system. After laying leaf onto the Instacoll Base all it took was a buff to create a glossy finish. The brightness and gloss of the gilt finish blew them away, even the biggest naysayers!
We were so impressed by Kölner’s products that we needed to know more. One of the directors of Gold Leaf Supplies, Steve Rees, decided to visit the factory in Germany. The staff of Kölner showed the warmest hospitality and offered Steve a guided tour. After touring the factory Steve saw examples of items gilded using the Instacoll Gilding System. The finishes that trained German gilders have created using Instacoll are breathtaking. The visit convinced Steave that Kölner would be an excellent company to work with. Kolner’s staff and directors were friendly and impeccably professional, and their product excellent. The magnificent range of work on display was all the proof that their range would fit well with our client base and existing products.
Kölner’s range of products for gilding is quite broad, with a product for almost any use, including stone, ceramics and more. Their flagship product is the Instacoll Gilding System. This water-based system creates intense high-gloss gilded finishes on both interior and exterior surfaces. For stonemasons we recommend Kölner Rapid Stone. This product designed for stonemasons and letter cutters looking to gild blasted or carved stone. Another specialist product is Kölner Miniatum. It’s designed for use on flexible surfaces such as paper, leather, and vellum – it’s perfect for illuminating manuscripts. If you are looking to gild, or repair previous gilding, on ceramic items then Kölner’s Ceramic Size is the best product for the job. Finally, Kölner Permacoll is a superb, water-based adhesive size. It’s well-suited for large interior projects, such as gilding walls and ceilings.
All the above products mentioned above and more are available for in our online shop. We stock smaller sizes for enthusiasts and hobbyists alongside larger pack sizes for trade users. Our range of products also includes professional quality gilding tools for any gilder.
It’s always a pleasure to feature Emma’s work on our blog. We’ve had the privilege of supplying her for a number of years now and we’re always blown away by the creativity and quality of the finishes she creates. Emma is a talented designer who creates unique verre églomisé (or reverse glass gilded) pieces incorporating precious metals, dyes and textured Japanese papers to create a uniquely detailed aesthetic. You can see more of Emma’s exquisite work in these previous blogposts.
Emma has done commissioned work for a number of prestigious projects, including private residences and high-profile places such as the Ormer Mayfair restaurant at the Flemings Hotel, London and Spring, Somerset House (which we featured in this post). Recently, Emma has completed a piece for the famous Hotel Adlon Kempinski, Berlin – a luxurious and storied hotel, with a history that stretches back decades! As part of an extensive renovation of the lobby area Emma was commissioned by Jagdfield Design to create a backdrop for the lobby bar. To tie both lobby and bar together the piece contains motifs of elephants, frogs and lotus flowers which feature prominently on the centrepiece of the lobby – a recently restored fountain, a gift presented to the hotel by the Maharajah of Patiala in the 1930s. The stunning, 4 metre wide piece was handmade by Emma and incorporates hand-dyed textured paper and meticulously gilded 22 ct gold leaf.
In addition to her commissioned work Emma and Studio Peascod are now offering a range of handmade, elegant furniture. Each piece incorporates Emma’s signature handmade verre églomisé glass panels, pairing the exquisitely patterned glass with and elegant and clean lines of brass and wood to create stunning contemporary furniture and light fittings.
There are four verre églomisé finishes available in the Highlight Collection.
From the world leader in water-based aged metal finishes comes Modern Masters Metal Effect Paint. Whether it’s a small, DIY project, or a high-end decorative finish or large architectural specification this paint can do it all! We’ve seen it used on small outdoor planters in a garden, to extensive use throughout the treetop walkway in Kew Gardens!
The key to this authentic aged finish is the actual metallic particles that are kept within suspension by Modern Masters high-tech acrylic binder. When you apply the appropriate Patina Effect solution to the paint it acts on the particles, oxidising them and developing a genuine patina of rust. This finish can be applied on practically any solid, sound substrate and is suitable for both interior and exterior use.
The Rust Effect finish is by far our most popular finish and has been used extensively on large-scale projects. The finish you can achieve with the proper and careful use of the Rust Effect Patina looks incredibly close to that of Corten, or weathering steel, and costs a fraction of the price of weathering steel cladding!
The Copper and Bronze Effect paint are very popular for use on statuary, as the effect they give is very close to the genuine appearance of age on classic copper and bronze statues. The Green Effect and Blue effect patinas can be used interchangeably on the Copper and Bronze, allowing for the creation of the just the right type of oxidation on the surface to suit your project.
Below you can view a short video showing just how simple it is to create a gorgeous, heavily-weathered effect on a wall with just the application of Metal Effect products!
We rarely get the chance to view the fascinating process of gilding but thanks to Rachael Linton of Sound Vision Studio we get a chance to view a time-lapse of the incredible work and effort she puts into every gilded project.
The project this time is a beautiful Hindu Temple that Rachael has hand-decorated with pastiglia and plaster cast ornamentation before finishing the entire surface using traditional oil and water-gilding techniques. The result is a glorious, incorruptible mirror finish.
“Everything is a miracle. It is a miracle that one does not dissolve in one’s bath like a lump of sugar.” Pablo Picasso
We are lucky to have lots of lovely clients and Robert Grace just happens to be one of them. He is such a positive, inspirational person and totally dedicated to his craft which is why he produces such incredible one off exquisite bath tubs. His story should be an encouragement to all those young people contemplating choosing a career in the craft industries.
A little about the man himself…
Grace of London is a creative designer and manufacturer of unique bespoke furniture specialising in mosaic and gold leaf designs.
Award winning Artist and designer Robert James Grace has turned his attention to highlighting the importance of guiding future artists and designers on a career path where the sky is the limit. His belief, shared by many others is that the creative industries are the driving force that develops and brings wealth into the country. He feels that it is acutely important to guide the next generation of bright imaginative youngsters into the world of craft and that now is the time to show the world that it is possible train and build an army of super skilled artisans who are capable of creating stunning pieces of craftsmanship that will be the envy of the world.
Having started with a city and guilds apprenticeship in ceramic wall and floor tiling some 30 years ago, Robert has travelled the world working for an array of high net worth individuals and landmark properties. After spending many years designing and creating handmade bespoke furniture, predominantly within the area of mosaic finishes, Robert decided to expand his portfolio based around hand gilded glass mosaic pieces and this new direction led to the birth of Grace of London http://www.graceoflondon.com
“My craft has allowed me to work with some of the most talented and creative designers in the world creating beautiful pieces of functional art.”
Typically, each unique bathtub is made from anything up to 15,000 pieces of hand decorated, hand cut glass which is reverse gilded with 24ct gold, 18ct gold, Platinum and decorated with Sworovsky crystals.
Over the years, Robert has built up a team of the finest craftsmen in the world that assist in creating these incredible pieces, two of them are Royal Warrant Holders. This group of individuals are all British former apprentices that have started at the bottom and worked their way to the very top. Collectively they have worked for Royal families and Palaces around the world.
One recently completed project that you may have seen in the press was a bespoke 24ct gold bath tub with a “foam” of 250,000 crystals cascading over the sides. It took up to 12 weeks to produce and at a cost of £100,000 it was snapped up by a Middle Eastern client who wishes to remain anonymous. The client commissioned it from interior designer Celia Sawyer www.celiasawyer.com who worked closely on the design with Robert Grace and his team.
It is always exciting and refreshing to see what work of art Robert produces next and we wish him all the very best in his creative business. Giving such a lot of his time back to youngsters as an inspirational mentor and having such a passion for his craft he deserves the absolute best.
“My message now is to show the younger generation that choosing a career in the craft industries can lead to becoming a hugely skilled, sought after artisan.” Robert James Grace, Grace of London
Finally, after much effort, we would like to welcome you to our new website which we hope will give you a far more user – friendly shopping experience.
Our aim was to look at the site through the eyes of the customer and make it easier to identify the products required for specific projects. We also tried to look through the eyes of the artisan or craftsperson and we have had the majority of our products re-photographed in a way that makes it easier to see exactly what you are buying and where possible we will have images of the effects that you can achieve for inspiration.
We enlisted the help of our trusted web designers Daly Design www.dalydesign.co.uk who, having worked with us since 2007, understand our business inside and out. We can’t recommend Paul and his team highly enough as their technical & design expertise were essential in creating this new site.
The new website is built on modern technology, offering a suite of new features with the prospect of more still to come. It is fully compatible with mobile devices and will automatically resize itself to give the best experience regardless of device.
The brief for Daly Design was to create a clean, uncluttered space that flows easily from section to section and gives clear information about the products that we sell. In addition to this we also wanted to reinforce our brand as a major world supplier of gilding and specialist decorating products, providing quality products at competitive prices and full technical back up from our knowledgeable staff. It was also important to showcase our clients work as we are always impressed with the talent of our clients and the wonderful finishes that they create using our products. All the images in our banner heading are of clients work and we have also improved our client gallery making it easier to search for images according to the type of works produced. We decided to add contact details to the gallery so that you can make contact if you like what you see and would like to discuss further projects with them.
We don’t use any stock photos on our site as we wanted it to be a true reflection of our clients work and the prestigious projects that we supply for.
The manufacturing companies that we work with have provided us with some great photographs but we have also enlisted the help of a professional photographer for our gold leaf section. We are very lucky to have Adam working with us who is an excellent photographer and has contributed so much to the development and visual aspect of the site. I don’t think he wants to photograph another brush for a very long time!
Our logistics was another area for improvement and we have streamlined our carriage costs and options and have also opened up our online shop to a wider geographical area. As well as the UK and Europe we can now accept online orders from the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. If you are outside any of these destinations, please email us and we can quote you for delivery costs and process your order in this way instead.
We will be continually adding new and interesting products to our online shop and also lots of interesting information to our Tips & Techniques and Client Gallery so keep popping back from time to time.
Thank you for your patience whilst we were creating this new site and we hope that you will find it interesting. We welcome any feedback and please feel free to contact us with any suggestions for new products or features that you would like us to add to our site. We are always looking for ways to improve the site for you, the customer – to make our site the premier destination to visit for purchasing gilding and specialist decorating supplies.
If you haven’t visited before we look forward to welcoming you to our shiny new world!
No more sanding and extensive prep on difficult surfaces!
Made from natural soya alkyd with a small PU content, Whitson’s is a water based, no fuss primer designed to give high adhesion to factory finished kitchens, cabinetry and problem substrates. It will allow you to easily transform any existing painted or sealed surface without hours of preparation and with no unpleasant smell. This Super-Adhesion Primer can be applied directly to tiles, plastic and melamine as well as high lacquer surfaces.
The primer was developed by Cait Whitson and Gibson Donaldson from Carte Blanche Decorative Painters (http://www.decoratescotland.com/) who are Specialist Painters and Decorators with over 30 years’ experience. One of their specialities is transforming cabinetry and furniture. Whitson’s Ltd came about when they had the opportunity to join forces with a really great formulations chemist, Nick Dubbels, who was the catalyst to allow them to invent products that helped solve problems – they are the painters making paint for painters!!!
Cait and Gibson were so frustrated over the years with what they had to work with to re-vamp kitchens, furniture, factory finished doors and contract materials like veneers, foils, melamine etc. that they decided to develop their own product. What they found was that the products on the market that were nice to use, water based with easy clean up didn’t work very well; and while there were ones that worked very well, those were smelly, sticky, difficult to get a good finish with, expensive and ruined brushes!
They wanted something that worked brilliantly, flowed nicely, didn’t affect your health, taint food or leave a home or commercial project smelling terrible. After much research and development, Whitson’s Superior Adhesion Primer was the result! It adheres to many problem substrates – oil based paints, varnishes, plastics and tiles.
Is there anything it doesn’t do? Well there are no particular stain blocking properties; it is designed for interior use – however it can be used outdoors as long as it is not applied in humid or cold weather which will have a delayed effect on drying and curing. Of course testing before working on an unknown substrate is advised.
“This primer is the best adhesion primer we have ever used. Fantastic Cait & to be water based is amazing. Brilliant work!” – Henry Van Der Vijver and the HVArt team give the Whitson’s Superior Adhesion Primer a massive thumbs up!
Makeover using the Whitsons Super Adhesion Primer
Fireplace transformation – painted by Gibson Donaldson of Carte Blanche Decorative Painters
This fireplace was varnished pine and composite moulding and was very shabby. The client was looking for a makeover and wanted it to match her fabulous new radiators in antiqued pewter.
It needed a thorough sand before applying a coat of Whitson’s Superior Adhesion Primer. With it’s great coverage and superior adhesion the fireplace barely needed sanding before the next phase. Once the primer was dry it was caulked and filled as necessary and then a coat of Liquid Metal Acrylic – Warm Platinum was painted over the whole surface. As an aside, if you want to work with metallic paints and brush apply them then you need the right brushes, there are special ones specifically for the Liquid Metal Acrylic paint and they are more expensive than other, cheaper general purpose paint brushes but they are well worth having.
Liquid Metals are dry very quickly and can be recoated in a short period of time. After the first coat Gibson did a quick dry brush over all the high spots that will be revealed after second coat just to solidify the coverage. Then a coat of Liquid Metal Acrylic – Graphite was applied. Gibson masked off the detail and stippled it and then with a damp cloth pad wiped off the high spots to reveal the colour below. Then he painted the flats with the Liquid Metal Acrylic Brushes, wiping back only the edges of the contours.
Then once dry he used a patinating fluid – he made this using General Finishes Black Glaze Effects and a bit of Extender. This glaze dries fast so for this small project it was perfect, the glaze was stippled on and then wiped off with a soft cloth. This left the glaze in the crevices, lending more definition to the carving and enhancing the effect of the highlights. Once dry a coat of Robersons Universal Lacquer was applied over the whole of the fireplace to protect it.
And after four visits of varying lengths we have this finished result and a delighted customer!
We are proud to be sponsoring the incredible Marion Labbez, who will be showing off her beautiful verre églomisé at the prestigious Chelsea Flower show, organised by the Royal Horticultural Society.
Marion Labbez is a London based French artist specialising in verre églomisé. Marion started work as a designer for a London based company of specialist finishers. It was there she started creating patterns and learning techniques which eventually led to a new found love of gilding.
Marion creates custom bespoke furniture for clients, featuring verre églomisé. She further draws influence from her love of London, its environment, people and history. This inspiration allows her to apply contemporary thinking to an age old craft and produce such beautiful work.
Marion will be producing verre églomisé glass panel’s incorporating floral designs, giving the real flowers a run for their money! We are pleased to be sponsoring Marion and wish her the best of luck at the show.
You can view Marion’s site here and view the Chelsea Flower Shows site here.