March 7, 2011 – Beverly Hills Adult School Uncial Class #7

Beverly Hills Adult School Uncial Class #7:  Today DeAnn demonstrated gilding for the beginners. Students continued working on their illuminated manuscript projects.

For inspiration, take a look at Trini’s work in progress:

Recipe for adhesive for flat gilding
1/3 part Sobo glue
2/3 part Water
Make in small jar
Add a tiny amount of red or orange watercolor to tint it lightly so that you can see where you’ve painted the glue. Red or orange color will enhance the gold color.

Demonstration of Illuminating a Decorative initial capital letter:
(see Gilding Notes for detailed instructions on Gilding)

Trace pattern (initial capital) onto Pergamenata paper.

Paint glue (adhesive for gold leaf, recipe: 2/3 Sobo glue, 1/3 water) onto initial capital with pointed brush (e.g. size 0 or 1). Try to paint on a smooth layer (you’ll be painting 3 layers). Let dry, then paint another layer. Cover the pencil outline.

Rinse brush frequently; don’t let the glue dry on the brush. TIP: Don’t let the brush sit in the water, the tip will be ruined.

Once the gold leaf adhesive is dry, you’re ready to apply the gold leaf. To prepare, clean a “gold only” pair of scissors with silk; you don’t want any sizing on the scissors or else the gold will stick to them. Cut the sheet of gold leaf to the estimated size of the initial cap.

Make sure to wipe off any lipstick or chapstick on your lips. Breathe on the glue so that it absorbs some moisture. Then place the gold leaf on it and press gently all around. Press the outlines, making sure the sides (the glue will be slightly raised) are also completely covered with the gold leaf.

Remove the backing paper carefully so that you can save any gold that sticks to the paper.

Place a piece of glassine (acid-free, non-stick paper; the Post Office envelopes for stamps are glass-ine) over the gold leaf and press the outlines, making sure the sides (the glue will be slightly raised) are also completely covered with gold leaf. Then brush excess gold off with a soft brush; brush in the direction of the lines, not across them.

Burnish the gold leaf (several types of burnishers in different shapes & sizes: e.g. Grifhold, Agate).

Clean up the edges with an X-acto knife with the #16 blade. (TIP: Every calligrapher should have the #11 blade and #16 blade.) Scrape toward you to clean the edges of excess gold.

Cleaned and burnished gilded initial capital:

Paint background of the gold decorative capital with gouache (choose a color that will make the gold stand-out; e.g. yellow is not a good choice.)

Once you’re done painting, outline the gold decorative capital with the Micron Pigma 005 pen.

Example of painting a decorative leaf half in a color and half in that color’s tint. Then DeAnn added decorative cross-hatching, lines, and dots. This is called “diapering.”