Thursday, December 08, 2011

Gilding With Epoxy Resin And Other Animals

A diverse week; finalising The Flatspace II Soundtrack, working on some new creative music for the first time in over a year, and planning events for 2012... I really want to do some sort of live performance or art talk. That takes me onto the main meal of today's blog entry, the tasty golden morsel of my "reliquary".

That's a close up of the gilding, which isn't brilliant, and is cracked and messy. The gold has to be applied at exactly the right moment of tack, and if the oil is too wet, or there is too much of it (I'm beginning to think that the latter is more important) then you risk tearing the leaf and getting oil on the surface, which at best dulls it and at worst shows the ugly base, adds wrinkles and gets oil on top, and that oil is yellow.

I've decided to add a second layer of gold. It's not a simple decision, even setting aside the cost, about £60 per "coat" of gold. There's no guarantee the second layer will come out any better than the first, and it might just add more wrinkles, leafing tends to accentuate details, not cover them.

This time though I've decided to use epoxy resin at the size. I love this material, it's so tough and it has a few advantages over the oil I used before. It dries very slowly, over several days, so there's no rush and the tack can be determined exactly (unlike my oil size, which goes thick in the bottle and, despite being of the "3 hour" sort seems to be ready in a worryingly fast fifteen minutes). Secondly, epoxy cures by its own chemical process independently of air, and this is a vital advantage because the gold itself seems to have prevented the oil from drying (at this point I tried to recall Rutherford's experiments with gold leaf, and wondered if oxygen molecules can pass through it! No answers on a postcard, please.)

Finally epoxy is water clear, unlike the yellow oil. Of course both yellow over time and U.V. exposure, but it's still a useful property.

So, today, while listening to The Yellow Magic Orchestra I applied a thin even layer of liquid epoxy casting resin to my reliquary. It's drying now, and I calculate that tomorrow it will be ready to apply some new gold leaf, from Wrights of Lymm. The other stuff was from Jacksons Art Supplies, a good company generally, but the last lot of gold was wrinkled when it arrives and many (expensive!) sheets were lost. I wouldn't be surprised in Wrights supply their gold anyway, but at least Wrights get the handling right.

Other news!

1. I've just given a small interview for the Chester Chronicle's new online gallery section. You can find it at...

2. A new section there might soon feature my poetry. I'm currently working on 365 Universes, my first poetry book.

3. I've recently given away a new music track to those who like my Facebook page. It's a short variation of the Flatspace II Theme.

I'll be releasing a new music video tomorrow. Until then... Olé! And onward!

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