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Posts Tagged ‘gilding’

Once the frame was all rebuilt, repaired and refinished, silmirrphoto 2 all that was left was deciding on the mirror. While we considered going with an antiqued glass, it was decided that the ornateness of the frame didn’t need any more going on so we went with a plain, flat mirror. The large amount of variance in the widths of the inner frame lip, as well as trying to avoid any possibility of future strain on the frame, were why we didn’t go with a bevelled mirror. The lip widths were as wide as over an inch in some areas but the typical ¼ inch in others so even a deep bevel would be mostly covered in spots. All together, with it’s new finish, the mirror is now hanging in it’s new home. The darker tones tie to the slate front of the Victorian marble fireplace it sits over and the silver leaf co-ordinates with the rooms chandelier. I also love how the Persian carpet in the room features similarly shaped birds. A fitting space and a new life for an beautiful old frame! The photo of it in it’s new home is the work of Dave Kimmel. You can see more of his work on his website.
The rest of my posts about this project: part 1, part 2, part 3

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After the physical reconstruction was done, img_5499 it was prepared for the gilding. It had been gilded, when first made, but had been hit with some gold paint, at least once, so there wasn’t enough left to salvage. (and the client wanted a different finish) There had also been quite a bit of damage to the compo base that covered the wood of the frame and so that needed to be evened out. Once the surface was smoothed and stabilized, it was sealed with a base coat in a dark brown/grey. Then the frame was gilded with silver metal. That is a multi-step process in that, after the base is prepared and sealed size is put on, as a glue, then the metal leaf is applied. Next it is cleaned and polished down. (and any missed spots are filled in) After that, there is an application of a an antiquing wash and then the whole thing is sealed. The antiquing wash is necessary since it brings out the details and gives depth to the flat, bright silver of the plain leaf. (you can see how bright the plain leaf is in the photo) Since we wanted it to be closer to the pewter tones, the antiquing wash was altered to more of a blue/black than the usual brown.

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It’s not all that surprising, once I got to look at the antique frame closely, baserestore that it had come apart. Whoever had done the final construction must have gotten distracted since the lower corners were only glued, and not nailed, together. The whole state of the construction is more than a little bit confusing. I have to wonder if it was started by a skilled worker and finished by someone who wasn’t as experienced. It’s just hard to understand why some things were done in the ways they were. It also was clear that it had gone through at least one, if not a couple of rounds of very poorly done “repairs”. I expect that it was fitted with a mirror, (and from that time period, it would have been a heavy one) and when the glue dried out a bit, the weight of the mirror caused it to just pull apart. After that, the broken mirror was likely thrown out and the parts stuffed into an attic to be dealt with at a later date, which never came until it was sold. At least they kept all the pieces together. One of my priorities for the rebuild was make sure that it would be stable, going forward. First thing was to get the base joints stabilized. Not only were they re-glued with the heavy duty framing glue, but I also nailed all the joints together as well. Since there was a high level of filling and re-construction already being done, I was able to nail solidly and then fill and blend the holes. It was also a bit odd that one of the birds had been carefully screwed on, but the other was just glued and it had, unsurprisingly, come off. Getting it back on was simple, but getting the wobbly wings fixed again was a bit more of a challenge. It looked like they had come off at least a couple of times and been nailed back on without much care or consideration. The same thing had been done to the front acanthus leaf of the top pagoda. (which has still not been re-attached in the photo) In both cases, Weldbond that had been dried to a putty consistency provided both a strong and stable fill along with adhering the parts together. (it’s not archival, but then most of this rebuild was not)

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This was one of my long term projects from the past winter. damaged Quite a while ago I was lucky enough to find this beautiful Roccoco revival mirror. Our best guess as to it’s age is some time from the 1880’s to the early 1920’s. As you can see, it was in four major pieces and there was also a bag of smaller bits. While it was in bits and pieces, at least almost all of them were together. A couple of smaller parts had been lost, but they were ones that I was able to rebuild. (an assortment of sculpting compounds and tools let me do it in a reasonable time frame) A few frames like this are still being made, but they are either very high end reproductions, typically starting in four figures or they’re plastic, so it was wonderful to find a wood one that could be rebuilt like this. While we don’t have a space that it would fit in, I did have a client who I thought it would suit and sent them some pictures of it. Having them confirm they did want it made some of the choices about how to handle the reconstruction easier since we were able to figure out the issues about what sort of mirror it would get and what the final finish would be. With both of those decided, I could move forward with them in mind. The finish was going to be changed and that meant that I could focus on stabilizing and evening the surface, rather than trying to salvage the existing one, a much easier job!

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The Etsy shop has always been a bit of a melange, considering how many different

red gold gilded leather necklace

red gold gilded leather necklace

things we’re into. It’s main focus has always been the masks but some vintage and supplies were always there and now, the stuffies are part of the mix as well. When I recently started with a new line of gilded leather jewellery, I realized that I just didn’t want to throw it in there too, so I’ve opened a new shop, just for it. I’ve called it Gilty Hearts, since most of the pieces are gilded hearts. It’s been fun to actually use the some of the sterling silver leaf I’ve had around as well as some of the variegated leafs. This tiny heart is one of the red ones. The metal sheets are apparently heat treated to cause the colour changes. I’ve found that it’s hard to predict exactly what they will look like until they are fully finished since most of the sealants that are needed to preserve the finish, can cause some random colour changes. This one turned out really well, with a strong pink/red range.

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It’s been a while since I made a new batch of the Greenmen masks.  It’s been hard for me to find a good sized batch of oak leaves, so I’ve tended to use ivy for most of them. When I got lucky and came into a large number of realistic oak a while ago, it was finally time to to work on a batch using them. This was also the first time I used the new “eyeglasses” forms for a Greenman. (It’s one of the more common styles that people ask me for that can be worn over glasses) For this one, I went with the gold gilding and then painted the leaves in fall tones. (the other two Oak Kings are green/gold and copper/fall) It being my first time with this form, I ended up with it being a bit less symmetrical than I typically go for. I also think I’ll probably make the next one a bit bigger but it should still cover most styles of glasses. The fall tones work well with the gold, but I find they go best with the pure copper leaf.

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In the latest batch of more traditional masks I also did a pair of peacock ones.  I first tried trimming a mask with peacock feathers, within a year or so of starting to make the masks. At the time I wasn’t too happy with how they looked against the gold leaf and the pieces always felt a bit off to me so I didn’t come back to trying with them for years. Eventually, I also starting playing with gilding some masks with the variegated metal leafs. The busyness of the variation, on top of the lace detailing seemed a bit much and it wasn’t until I thought to pair those masks with the peacock feathers that it all came together. The addition of mixed colours of rhinestones also enhances the whole feel. I guess it’s a case of the fact that, on some level, I do think they border on being a little, well, gaudy. Not that it’s a bad thing, but it’s not typically my first choice of design direction. Considering how positively they’ve been received it goes to show that it’s a style that appeals to a good chunk of people. I guess that is true that occasionally, when something is a bit much, you have to add even more, to make it right.

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