abendgules: (slope)
[personal profile] abendgules
Well, it's gilding, but not as most people know it.

Tried another button of gesso today - just 3 drops of water this time, and let it soak, and then worked with a brush to dissolve it. Had a really smooth consistency, with no bubbles or lumps.

Painted it onto some samples, let it dry. Tried lots of breathing on it, then transfer gold...nuthin'. Nothing stuck, except a tiny fringe around the edges in one corner. It was dry dry dry.

I added a layer of gum arabic on top, and reapplied the transfer gold.

This mostly worked, at least after a few tries; it sometimes took several applications to complete the cover.

As usual the pictures don't convey the project very well. But basically, it's fairly flat gilding but not as flat as if there were no gesso at all. It's not mirror finish, but is reasonably even, no lumps and fairly straight edges, that can be smoothed a bit more with a knife.

It is not perfect - one patch on one of the rectangles wouldn't take gold, not for nuthin'. I painted over it with more gum arabic, and tried again, and filled the patch, but I can see it.

I have no idea if this gesso + gum arabic has any basis in medieval practice.

jan2013 005


jan2013 001

On this one, you can see a bit of 'bleed' on the right-hand piece, on the right bar. I don't know how this happened, because neither the gesso, nor the gum arabic, appeared to bulge when I applied them. The bulge appeared only after I applied the gold, and the gum arabic seemed to have spread as if going through a hole. I scraped off most of it, but the unevenness remains.

jan2013 004

SO: I have no idea what the issue is. It's as if the gesso has mass and body, but no stickyness at all.

Date: 2013-01-19 10:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merlyn-gabriel.livejournal.com
I'm in awe of your dedication and perseverance. The reason I used the sugar / gum arabic recipe was I just couldn't get plaster gesso to work. Now I must admit I'm finding the permacol also a very nice solution for when I need fast very reliable gesso. I'm following your adventures in this closely. It would make an awesome paper, you know.

bri

Date: 2013-01-21 12:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bend-gules.livejournal.com
I'm wondering if for some reason the stickyness just needs a boost, for whatever reason. I'll put a drop of g. arabic in the gesso (still in the fridge) and try that.

Not certain if I'll keep using gesso, though I'll use up my supply. Seems like a lot of work for limited return, and I just don't love gold in all its glory like I love calligraphy.

It's been worth trying, and the 30-day challenge has proved an excellent motivator to pursue it. But the lure of one-step solutions out of a bottle, so I can spend more time on other parts of the scroll, is strong.
Edited Date: 2013-01-21 12:09 pm (UTC)

Secreta recipe and Cennini

Date: 2013-01-21 08:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wyntersea.livejournal.com
You've probably seen this website: http://users.zoominternet.net/~yvianne/scribal/gilding
it might give you some ideas for your "dry" gesso.

* * * * * * * *
Honey and sugar are both used for rehydrating the gesso, so if the gold leaf isn't sticking I'd try adding one or the other of those to the batch.

If the gesso isn't sticking to the parchment/paper I would add either more fish glue or gum arabic. Though one of Cennini's recipes says to paint some water on the gesso as you're gilding...

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