Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Q: Gilding on glass

Q: Are you teaching any classes on gold leafing on glass?

A: I don’t exactly teach gold leafing as a class but I have demonstrated it. Here is what you need to know about the process to find more information from other sources.

Gold can be applied in 2 ways: 

  1. Fired “luster” like you would find on china or glassware - seek information regarding gold luster
  2. Cold applied, otherwise known as “gilding” - seek info from sign writers and resources on faux finishing techniques.

Gilding can be done as a “reverse painted” technique like you would see on a tavern mirror or the front door of a lawyers office. Gold can also be applied to the front surface as in icon painting or picture frame gilding. Reverse gilding on glass uses gelatin as a glue and gilding on the front uses a traditional Japan gold size. Techniques from these related disciplines mentioned above can be adapted to glass.

All of these "gold on glass techniques" are “semi permanent” and can suffer from abrasion so they are NOT part of the vocabulary of traditional architectural stained glass windows. Remember gilding is best viewed in reflected light. Gold in a stained glass window would read as black in transmitted light. However the lead came can be gilded as an additional decorative technique to be viewed in reflected light.