We use the renaissance style of water-gilding to gild our frames, in this case with 12-karat gold, also known as white gold. A generous amount of silver actually goes into white gold. This gives the color a warm, silvery tone.
To prepare the frame for gilding, a foundation of gesso then clay is applied; the clay is something we grind ourselves. The gold comes in leafs, which are held together in what resembles a little book. Each leaf is only a micron thick, so if you were to try to pick it up with your fingers it would dissolve. The brush we use is called a gilder’s tip, and the leaf is adhered with a special glue, called rabbit skin’s glue, which we thin with alcohol. It’s a quick drying glue, and you have to work quickly. Once the leafs are dry, we take a burnisher and rub against the leafs pressing them into the clay to combine them. This makes them shiny.