How to Apply Gold Leaf to Pottery

This is part two of the step by step examples of how to apply gold leaf to pottery surfaces. Part one can be found here. In these final steps the gold leaf is smoothed on to the surface with a soft brush, and given a light burnish with a cotton ball.

This is page two of two.

step one
Step Five A gentle brushing with pieces of gold leaf that have been picked up by the brush or tweezers will make sure that all of the pattern painted with the gold size will be covered.

step two
Step Six About a day after the gold leaf has been applied the size will have fully hardened, and the gold can be burnished with a cotton ball, or piece of velvet. There are sometimes little flakes of gold on the surface from the application process, and the burnishing will smooth them into the applied gold. A light burnishing really brings out the lustre of the gold leaf.

step three
Step Seven Since gold leaf is so incredibly thin, its colour will sometimes be affected by the colour of the surface it is bonding to. To get a pure gold colour it is sometimes necessary to apply two or three separate applications of the leaf. There should be at least a day in between each application to make sure the gold size has hardened. My favourite surface for applying gold leaf is fired but unglazed stoneware and porcelain.

step four
A Finished Work In this case the gold leaf was used as an accent for the textural elements on the jar. It can make for a dramatic contrast with the more earthy qualities of fired clay.

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