Gilding Workshop at Audacious Women Festival 2019

Since 2015, the Audacious Women Collective has focused on empowering and encouraging women to overcome personal, political and institutional barriers, and to celebrate the achievements of inspirational Scottish women. The Audacious Women Festival happens once a year and a range of workshops and talks are held by and for people who identify as women.

I was lucky enough to get a ticket for a gilding workshop run by Sally-Ann Johns of Studio 58 at the City Art Centre. I had zero experience of gilding prior to this day so I’m very grateful to Sally-Ann for teaching me! Photos courtesy of my Instagram story that day!

We began by coating a wooden board with a gold acrylic paint. This would act as our base and would also help mask any issues we might encounter when we placed the gold down on the board as beginners. Hair dryers were used to speed drying along.

Next up was working out what word we wanted to gild/gild around. After a lot of humming and hawing, I decided to simply do The Travelling Quill initials in a pale blue and gild the background.

Once we were happy with our designs, we needed to coat what we wanted to gild with a substance called gold size. Size is an adhesive that can be used to stick gold leaf or any other kind of ‘leaf’ to a surface. It’s quite runny and we used small paint brushes to apply it to our wood.

Another quick blast with the hair dryer and we were ready to apply our gold leaf! No going back after this as once the gold leaf touches the size, it is sticking! Placing the goldleaf was tricky because of this. It’s very delicate and fragile so you have to place it gently and avoid tearing it.

With the entire board covered, the unattached gold leaf then needs to be brushed away. Using incredibly soft brushes, we revealed our designs below. It felt a bit like excavating ancient ruins or fossils!

A quick spray with sealant outside to protect everything…

And then that was that!

Not too bad for a total beginner! I missed a few spots with size but I’m very pleased with how it turned out and the board has pride of place in my office now!

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