We rarely get the chance to view the fascinating process of gilding but thanks to Rachael Linton of Sound Vision Studios we get a chance to view a time-lapse of the incredible work and effort she puts into every gilded project.
The project this time is a beautiful Hindu Temple that Rachael has hand-decorated with pastiglia and plaster cast ornamentation before finishing the entire surface using traditional oil and water-gilding techniques. The result is a glorious, incorruptible mirror finish.
“Everything is a miracle. It is a miracle that one does not dissolve in one’s bath like a lump of sugar.” Pablo Picasso
We are lucky to have lots of lovely clients and Robert Grace just happens to be one of them. He is such a positive, inspirational person and totally dedicated to his craft which is why he produces such incredible one off exquisite bath tubs. His story should be an encouragement to all those young people contemplating choosing a career in the craft industries.
A little about the man himself…
Grace of London is a creative designer and manufacturer of unique bespoke furniture specialising in mosaic and gold leaf designs.
Award winning Artist and designer Robert James Grace has turned his attention to highlighting the importance of guiding future artists and designers on a career path where the sky is the limit. His belief, shared by many others is that the creative industries are the driving force that develops and brings wealth into the country. He feels that it is acutely important to guide the next generation of bright imaginative youngsters into the world of craft and that now is the time to show the world that it is possible train and build an army of super skilled artisans who are capable of creating stunning pieces of craftsmanship that will be the envy of the world.
Having started with a city and guilds apprenticeship in ceramic wall and floor tiling some 30 years ago, Robert has travelled the world working for an array of high net worth individuals and landmark properties. After spending many years designing and creating handmade bespoke furniture, predominantly within the area of mosaic finishes, Robert decided to expand his portfolio based around hand gilded glass mosaic pieces and this new direction led to the birth of Grace of London http://www.graceoflondon.com
“My craft has allowed me to work with some of the most talented and creative designers in the world creating beautiful pieces of functional art.”
Typically, each unique bathtub is made from anything up to 15,000 pieces of hand decorated, hand cut glass which is reverse gilded with 24ct gold, 18ct gold, Platinum and decorated with Sworovsky crystals.
Over the years, Robert has built up a team of the finest craftsmen in the world that assist in creating these incredible pieces, two of them are Royal Warrant Holders. This group of individuals are all British former apprentices that have started at the bottom and worked their way to the very top. Collectively they have worked for Royal families and Palaces around the world.
One recently completed project that you may have seen in the press was a bespoke 24ct gold bath tub with a “foam” of 250,000 crystals cascading over the sides. It took up to 12 weeks to produce and at a cost of £100,000 it was snapped up by a Middle Eastern client who wishes to remain anonymous. The client commissioned it from interior designer Celia Sawyer www.celiasawyer.com who worked closely on the design with Robert Grace and his team.
It is always exciting and refreshing to see what work of art Robert produces next and we wish him all the very best in his creative business. Giving such a lot of his time back to youngsters as an inspirational mentor and having such a passion for his craft he deserves the absolute best.
“My message now is to show the younger generation that choosing a career in the craft industries can lead to becoming a hugely skilled, sought after artisan.” Robert James Grace, Grace of London
Finally, after much effort, we would like to welcome you to our new website which we hope will give you a far more user – friendly shopping experience.
Our aim was to look at the site through the eyes of the customer and make it easier to identify the products required for specific projects. We also tried to look through the eyes of the artisan or craftsperson and we have had the majority of our products re-photographed in a way that makes it easier to see exactly what you are buying and where possible we will have images of the effects that you can achieve for inspiration.
We enlisted the help of our trusted web designers Daly Design www.dalydesign.co.uk who, having worked with us since 2007, understand our business inside and out. We can’t recommend Paul and his team highly enough as their technical & design expertise were essential in creating this new site.
The new website is built on modern technology, offering a suite of new features with the prospect of more still to come. It is fully compatible with mobile devices and will automatically resize itself to give the best experience regardless of device.
The brief for Daly Design was to create a clean, uncluttered space that flows easily from section to section and gives clear information about the products that we sell. In addition to this we also wanted to reinforce our brand as a major world supplier of gilding and specialist decorating products, providing quality products at competitive prices and full technical back up from our knowledgeable staff. It was also important to showcase our clients work as we are always impressed with the talent of our clients and the wonderful finishes that they create using our products. All the images in our banner heading are of clients work and we have also improved our client gallery making it easier to search for images according to the type of works produced. We decided to add contact details to the gallery so that you can make contact if you like what you see and would like to discuss further projects with them.
We don’t use any stock photos on our site as we wanted it to be a true reflection of our clients work and the prestigious projects that we supply for.
The manufacturing companies that we work with have provided us with some great photographs but we have also enlisted the help of a professional photographer for our gold leaf section. We are very lucky to have Adam working with us who is an excellent photographer and has contributed so much to the development and visual aspect of the site. I don’t think he wants to photograph another brush for a very long time!
Our logistics was another area for improvement and we have streamlined our carriage costs and options and have also opened up our online shop to a wider geographical area. As well as the UK and Europe we can now accept online orders from the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. If you are outside any of these destinations, please email us and we can quote you for delivery costs and process your order in this way instead.
We will be continually adding new and interesting products to our online shop and also lots of interesting information to our Tips & Techniques and Client Gallery so keep popping back from time to time.
Thank you for your patience whilst we were creating this new site and we hope that you will find it interesting. We welcome any feedback and please feel free to contact us with any suggestions for new products or features that you would like us to add to our site. We are always looking for ways to improve the site for you, the customer – to make our site the premier destination to visit for purchasing gilding and specialist decorating supplies.
If you haven’t visited before we look forward to welcoming you to our shiny new world!
No more sanding and extensive prep on difficult surfaces!
Made from natural soya alkyd with a small PU content, Whitson’s is a water based, no fuss primer designed to give high adhesion to factory finished kitchens, cabinetry and problem substrates. It will allow you to easily transform any existing painted or sealed surface without hours of preparation and with no unpleasant smell. This Super-Adhesion Primer can be applied directly to tiles, plastic and melamine as well as high lacquer surfaces.
The primer was developed by Cait Whitson and Gibson Donaldson from Carte Blanche Decorative Painters (http://www.decoratescotland.com/) who are Specialist Painters and Decorators with over 30 years’ experience. One of their specialities is transforming cabinetry and furniture. Whitson’s Ltd came about when they had the opportunity to join forces with a really great formulations chemist, Nick Dubbels, who was the catalyst to allow them to invent products that helped solve problems – they are the painters making paint for painters!!!
Cait and Gibson were so frustrated over the years with what they had to work with to re-vamp kitchens, furniture, factory finished doors and contract materials like veneers, foils, melamine etc. that they decided to develop their own product. What they found was that the products on the market that were nice to use, water based with easy clean up didn’t work very well; and while there were ones that worked very well, those were smelly, sticky, difficult to get a good finish with, expensive and ruined brushes!
They wanted something that worked brilliantly, flowed nicely, didn’t affect your health, taint food or leave a home or commercial project smelling terrible. After much research and development, Whitson’s Superior Adhesion Primer was the result! It adheres to many problem substrates – oil based paints, varnishes, plastics and tiles.
Is there anything it doesn’t do? Well there are no particular stain blocking properties; it is designed for interior use – however it can be used outdoors as long as it is not applied in humid or cold weather which will have a delayed effect on drying and curing. Of course testing before working on an unknown substrate is advised.
“This primer is the best adhesion primer we have ever used. Fantastic Cait & to be water based is amazing. Brilliant work!” – Henry Van Der Vijver and the HVArt team give the Whitson’s Superior Adhesion Primer a massive thumbs up!
Makeover using the Whitsons Super Adhesion Primer
Fireplace transformation – painted by Gibson Donaldson of Carte Blanche Decorative Painters
This fireplace was varnished pine and composite moulding and was very shabby. The client was looking for a makeover and wanted it to match her fabulous new radiators in antiqued pewter.
It needed a thorough sand before applying a coat of Whitson’s Superior Adhesion Primer. With it’s great coverage and superior adhesion the fireplace barely needed sanding before the next phase. Once the primer was dry it was caulked and filled as necessary and then a coat of Liquid Metal Acrylic – Warm Platinum was painted over the whole surface. As an aside, if you want to work with metallic paints and brush apply them then you need the right brushes, there are special ones specifically for the Liquid Metal Acrylic paint and they are more expensive than other, cheaper general purpose paint brushes but they are well worth having.
Liquid Metals are dry very quickly and can be recoated in a short period of time. After the first coat Gibson did a quick dry brush over all the high spots that will be revealed after second coat just to solidify the coverage. Then a coat of Liquid Metal Acrylic – Graphite was applied. Gibson masked off the detail and stippled it and then with a damp cloth pad wiped off the high spots to reveal the colour below. Then he painted the flats with the Liquid Metal Acrylic Brushes, wiping back only the edges of the contours.
Then once dry he used a patinating fluid – he made this using General Finishes Black Glaze Effects and a bit of Extender. This glaze dries fast so for this small project it was perfect, the glaze was stippled on and then wiped off with a soft cloth. This left the glaze in the crevices, lending more definition to the carving and enhancing the effect of the highlights. Once dry a coat of Robersons Universal Lacquer was applied over the whole of the fireplace to protect it.
And after four visits of varying lengths we have this finished result and a delighted customer!
We are proud to be sponsoring the incredible Marion Labbez, who will be showing off her beautiful verre églomisé at the prestigious Chelsea Flower show, organised by the Royal Horticultural Society.
Marion Labbez is a London based French artist specialising in verre églomisé. Marion started work as a designer for a London based company of specialist finishers. It was there she started creating patterns and learning techniques which eventually led to a new found love of gilding.
Marion creates custom bespoke furniture for clients, featuring verre églomisé. She further draws influence from her love of London, its environment, people and history. This inspiration allows her to apply contemporary thinking to an age old craft and produce such beautiful work.
Marion will be producing verre églomisé glass panel’s incorporating floral designs, giving the real flowers a run for their money! We are pleased to be sponsoring Marion and wish her the best of luck at the show.
You can view Marion’s site here and view the Chelsea Flower Shows site here.
“Sacred” by the wonderful Kate Alterio is the latest piece to catch our eye! Its originality speaks volumes as not only being a stunning contemporary piece, but also boasting deeply symbolic meanings.
Kate Alterio is a New Zealand-based artist whose journey has led her to explore many different styles and mediums. Kate began with jewellery making, before moving into painting and now more recently has progressed into photography. She views each medium from a different perspective seeing the precision of jewellery, the fluidity of painting and the ability to capture and hold time using photography.
Kate seeks to connect the physical and spiritual worlds through her work bringing the formless into the world of form, and exploring various themes such as diversity, spirituality and human interconnectedness.
There is often a journey Kate explores whilst creating her work, with an overall intention to create a “sense of stillness and potency, that invites viewers to feel a corresponding resonance within themselves”. Kate’s work is held and shown in both private and corporate collections in New Zealand and overseas.
Sacred is Kate’s ode to the honey bee. Kate stresses bees are essential to our survival and symbolize unity, renewal, immortality, resurrection, new beginnings and community. We have a lot to learn from these small yet powerful insects.
Historically bees and beehives have been held in high esteem throughout the world. Bees have an incredible work ethic and function in harmony to achieve a common goal. They support not only their colony but also enable the human race to thrive by perpetuating floral growth and pollinating agricultural goods, and by producing honey, bee propolis, royal jelly and wax. Without them the world as we know it would be a very different place. The relationship that bees have with nature is one of benefit and enhancement, a beautiful illustration of unity and working towards the greater good.
Bees are incredible architects and mathematicians. Sacred geometric forms are the basic building blocks of our universe so it’s no surprise that these tiny insects chose a hexagon for the hive. Not only is it a sacred form but the hexagon is also the most efficient shape as it stores the most amount of honey while using the least amount of wax, which indicates the deep intelligence of bees.
To create the effect of shading and different dimensions Kate has used a combination of 24ct yellow gold leaf, 23ct red gold leaf, 22ct moon gold leaf and 22.5ct champagne gold leaf. The red gold’s slightly darker and richer tone adds the dimension to the piece while the softer lighter tones of moon and champagne gold create a shading effect.
This piece is incredibly eye catching whilst holding a deep, significant meaning, and we hope Kate continues to create such great pieces in the near future!
This week we have a very special project to showcase with all the details and pictures very kindly provided to us by Danni Bradford. Danni has recently collaborated with Ellie Miller, the only professional female surfboard maker in Europe, to create a one-off, limited edition 24 carat gilt surfboard!
Danni and Ellie collaborated to create LUX surfboards in order to explore the gap between art and functionality. As well as gaining admiration for their aesthetic beauty and eye-catching elegance LUX surfboards also gain recognition for their craftsmanship and performance as contemporary wave riding craft. The board itself was inspired by the iconic single fin shape of the 1970’s. The board named “The Aureus” is the first in a short series of one off limited edition surfboards celebrating a rich surf heritage, so watch this space!
The use of our 24 carat leaf in this board marks a first in surfboard construction techniques. The gold is striking yet elegant giving the board a polished and classy look. The use of gold throughout the construction of Aureus enhances the subtle wave of the fibreglass and imbues the curves of the board with a delicate luminosity. We can’t wait to see the rest of the series. To see more of Ellie’s custom-made boards under her “Miller Surfboards” label then you can visit her website at millersurfboards.co.uk
From the Large to the Little!
Danni Bradford is an artist, gilder and surface designer specialising in verre eglomise (the reverse gilding of glass). She produces bespoke decorative and functional pieces from her north Devon studio. You can find out more and view her extensive and impressive range of work at dannibradford.com We particularly love Danni’s intricate 24 carat gold skeleton leaf. As said by her – one of the smallest pieces she has ever gilded! We’re sure quite a difference from gilding a surfboard.
We love supplying to Danni and enjoy her versatility and individual range. We cant wait to see what she comes up with in the future!
Last week we had the absolute delight of receiving this stunning canvas from the very talented Ruth Sadler. After a brief in-office scuffle one person emerged victorious and the canvas is proudly displayed on her wall!
Ruth is one of our much appreciated and creative clients whom we have worked with for some time now. Her style and approach to art is much admired by us here and we love sending her new and exciting materials for her to experiment with! Ruth has worked a lot with our Dutch metal gold leaf and it features in many of her pieces. Its beautiful finish and versatility allows for layered looks with various materials, creating exciting and abstract pieces.
Here are some pieces depicting the great Jimi Hendrix Ruth has created using different metal leaves and gold paint alike to achieve a vintage look. We are also lucky enough to have one of these brightening up our office.
Ruth’s priority in Art is “freedom, freedom to translate emotional value through her brush, not accuracy through measure. By painting like this she finds that she has the freedom that allows the magic to happen, the intrigue to be created and it’s then that the Art introduces itself.”. Ruth’s love of animals (especially horses) presents itself within her work, creating beautiful horses using our gold to give them a very regal finish. The overlapping of the different imitation leaves adds dimension to her piece.
We are excited to see what Ruth will produce next and can’t wait to work alongside her in the future!
To see more of Ruth’s work, visit her webpage at RuthSadler.com or follow her on Facebook.
Rachael Linton is a talented freelance artist and Director of Sound Vision Studio (www.soundvisionstudio.co.uk), who specialises in the creation of artworks using precious metals and other mixed media.
Rachael has been a client of ours for many years and due to her extensive skill base and flexibility we are always supremely confident when recommending her work to clients. Originally from New Zealand, Rachael loves to travel all over for projects – have bag ..will travel!
In gilding terms, Rachael covers the complete skill spectrum with vast experience in water gilding, oil gilding, restoration, chinoiserie and verre eglomise.
A recent project we supplied for was the gilding of the Holy Palki that houses the Shri Guru Granth Sahib (the sacred text and teacher of Sikhism) in an active Sikh temple in Southall, London. 23.5ct Gold leaf was used for this project and the results speak for themselves.
In 2014, we supplied the leaf used for a large project that Rachael was working on, at Westminster Palace London. The work was carried out by eight conservators and gilders in the Queens Robing Room.
One of Rachael’s greatest artistic achievements to date is actually a Guinness Book Record breaker – an incredible piece of work titled 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic – which is set to tour the UK in 2016 to honour the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. The tour starts in Hastings itself in with the exhibition running from August to October in the crypt of St Mary in the Castle, Hastings. This colossal artwork is the longest steel mosaic in the world and is a complete re-creation of the Bayeux Tapestry with many new scenes painstakingly researched and added. This is a family project of combined talents with Rachael working alongside her father Michael Linton.
Michael and Rachael spent eight years researching historical and contemporary literature on every aspect of 11th century history in order to draw a truthful depiction of the events preceding the Norman conquest of England. This has led to Michael Linton becoming one of the world’s most educated historians on 11th- century medieval history.
Rachael Linton researched the design style to match the Bayeux tapestry and studied the illuminated manuscripts and iconography of the time and meticulously designed the artworks. Michael researched the written stories and documentation of medieval records. As a period piece, it was important that the extension depict the people, events and culture accurately, while maintaining the appropriate artistic style, colour and composition of the original tapestry.
An exhibition not to be missed!
Apart from being an incredibly talented lady, Rachael is always so enthusiastic and a pleasure to work with. She has a genuine hunger for new and exciting artistic challenges.
Phil Shields, specialist decorator and gilder recently completed the gilding work on these incredible chandeliers made by Great British Lighting for Hereford Cathedral.
We supplied all the 23.5ct gold leaf used to gild the surface of the chandeliers to create a lustrous finish. The polished, golden sheen is a perfect compliment for the beautiful interior of Hereford Cathedral. It is hard to gauge the scale of the chandeliers, each one was 5.4m high x 2.8m wide! Phil said that working up close they seem enormous. Phil is a talented gilder and decorating finisher and all his work is gained by word of mouth – always the best way! He is always busy so that’s a good advertisement for his talents. We have worked with Phil for a number of years on various projects and nothing ever seems to faze him.
Great British Lighting are a global lighting manufacturer with over 100 years experience in making lighting to order. They work with architects and designers to create lighting designs, both traditional and contemporary which are installed worldwide.