A gilding clay or ground serves a two-fold purpose, it acts as a filler if working on bare wood, or if the gold leaf is so thin, it serves to give the gold a warmer colour. The deep red colour will show through the gold giving a very authentic appearance of antique gold.
Charbonnel Extra Fine Gilder's Clay is in the form of a paste which is ground in the traditional manner between granite rollers. The manufacturing process ensures top quality and performance in use.
The gilding ground is simply mixed with water if working with a wood or porous surface, or it may be mixed with a solution of lukewarm rabbit skin glue size, one volume of gilder's clay to two volumes of glue size if working on a non-porous surface such as glass or metal. After burnishing, the clay becomes visible through the fine leaves of gold.
Stronger than most modern adhesives, rabbit skin glue is used in traditional gilding and painting techniques. First soaked in water and then heated in a water bath, it is applied warm, and gels when left to cool. In painting and gilding techniques, it is used both as a size for canvas and boards, in recipes to make traditional gesso.
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