Our first heritage craft workshop took place in late February and was between skilled gilder, Danni Bradford and furniture maker, Edward Wild. Danni took Edward through the many processes of water and oil gilding. Jess was there to photograph and film the workshop.
Here are some words from Edward Wild describing his experience of learning gilding from Danni Bradford…


“Sitting down with Danni to start gilding was both exciting and slightly daunting, previously we had looked at many samples and different applications, and now all the new words I had been hearing were coming into practice; size, oil gilding, water gilding, leaf, gesso, agate, clay, rabbit glue. The gold leaf seemed so delicate, it could just float away in an instant, however, what I had not expected was the variation available with the copper, brass, aluminium and silver leaf in so many colours. Applying size to the wood samples looked so simple, yet had a delicacy and feel about it which took time to learn. The gesso was so free and natural and the leaf was so delicate I was almost scared to pick it up, the slightest breath and it would crumble and drift away. Lifting the leaf with a badger hair brush seemed impossible, It floated on the tip of the brush, and then as soon as it touched the work became permanent, durable and solid, this process was such a surprise, something so delicate became so durable in an instant. As we applied the leaf to the samples of wood, I could see the surfaces which worked and looked good and the ones I no longer liked. As the afternoon sped along and my smile grew, my initial ideas changed, and new ideas developed. I am now enjoying starting to learn the techniques and applications we worked on and developing them into my work in new and interesting ways.”


Edward Wild painting rabbit glue onto wood for gilding


Some words from Danni on her experience of teaching Edward…


“I’ve spent many years learning the craft of gilding and its many applications, be it traditional gilding as an antique restorer or working with verre-eglomise as a head artist and gilder for a commercial glass company… and it seems there’s always more to learn!
Over recent years I have focused on glass and verre-eglomise as my medium and art form, as I love its complexity and I have been able to bring my background as a fine artist and illustrator into my Art application.
With this latest collaboration, it’s been an absolute joy to be able to share some traditional gilding knowledge and teach some basics in this heritage craft to the very skilled furniture maker, Edward Wild.
The ‘In a new light project’ has been bought together by Edward Crumpton and Jess Pearson and I’m so excited to see how Edward Wild applies these new heritage craft techniques to his current catalogue of skills and maybe creates an exciting new narrative in his work.
For me, it’s been an exploration into analysing my own skillset as a possible educator, in teaching and keeping a very special skill set alive while also helping the local creative ecology.

Thanks to @goldleafsupply and @ashandover for our gilding supplies to create our beech wood turned, traditionally water gilded, eggs. “


A collage of Danni teaching Ed, Gilding