October 28 saw a very special day with Robin Tait, from Endangered Heritage. The subject was GOLD! We learnt so much about working with gold leaf lifting it carefully from a cushion, putting through a sieve for a wonderful effect called Zarafshan. The base for the gold was gum arabic - with or without indigo paint in it. Then we learnt how to make shell gold, and went through vast amounts of gold leaf to produce a very small amount of shell gold! No wonder it is so expensive! We produced some examples of work with gold too, ending up with painting a fine line in shell gold. This was done on top of a wash of very dilute shell gold. The ideas that came from this workshop are spinning around in our heads. Thanks Robin for a great day.
Many thanks to Cherrie Grant for the photos.
How lucky was I to get a place in the Calligraphy Society of Tasmania’s workshop Midas’s Hand – A touch of Gold Touch with Gyounghee (Hee) Lee from Melbourne as our tutor.
It was with some trepidation that I set off for Hobart for a weekend working with GOLD. I have always found any form of bling temperamental when wanting to incorporate it into my calligraphy but I was determined to learn more about it in the hope that it would lead to more consistent results in the future.
I could have added Attention to Detail as a subtitle for this report, as this was the catch-cry throughout the weekend. Attention to detail starting with the right temperature and humidity in your workroom, the best ingredients for making your own gesso, the careful application of the gesso, the careful scraping and burnishing of the gesso and that was before we even got any gold near our work. We learnt about the many different varieties and qualities of gold leaf and how best to work with this expensive but beautiful material. Who knew that it is possible to get up to 20 layers of gold onto the gesso if all goes well.
Over the two days we made a number of exemplar sheets, annotating as we went along, noting what worked and what didn’t and how to apply gesso with a variety of different tools (silicon brush, nib, ruling pen). We learnt how to correct mistakes and still be able to get great results once the gold was laid and burnished.
Hee was a superb tutor who spent individual time with everyone to help us all produce some amazing results. She generously shared her knowledge of the history, chemistry and practical application of gold to her own work with us as she took us along the journey towards more successful illumination of our own calligraphic pieces.
Thank you to the Calligraphy Society of Tasmania. It was a pleasure to meet a group of like-minded calligraphers and spend time with them in their home town learning new skills and techniques.
A huge thank you also to Hee whose knowledge and ability to share it was amazing.
Now for the hard part – trying to make it all work in my little room!!!
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