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Leave the gold behind (forget the frankincense and myrrh)

24/12/2011

It’s Christmas Eve. A present has to be finished. This a sandstone bowl on a tripod (stainless steel pins). I need to apply gold leaf to the hollow. In books on ‘how to apply gold leaf’ pages are laboriously written about having to have brushes made from the neutered backside of a Patagonian beaver (better still badger), or some such exotic animal. Then one must have a leather cushion on which to careful ‘breathe’ the leaf – the exquisite leaf. There must be the scent of oils, the sound of birds singing, and one must, of course, be a monk, aesthetic, a Franciscan perhaps. Tush. I use an old paint brush and take the leaf (24 carat) in my fingers. Okay, I break every rule but it works. Happy Christmas.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. 04/09/2012 6:47 pm

    I LOL’d about your description of the ‘proper’ way to lay gold leaf! I’m learning to carve letters and having found a large lump of stone, decided to do a bird bath. Can you please tell me, do you just carve away into the stone, going deeper and deeper and then smooth off with sandpaper or is there a ‘proper’ way of going about it?

    • john pitt permalink*
      04/09/2012 7:54 pm

      Hi Helen – thanks for the post. Carve away. You can’t use sandpaper though – what type of stone is it? Sandstone or limestone…? In carving there are basic rules but no ‘proper’ way…for example, make sure your chisel is sharp at all times.

      • 04/09/2012 8:29 pm

        I’m using Maltese limestone and yes, I do sharpen the chisels a lot. Thank you!

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