This week, my good friend Martina has been in town for a Gilding Conference. Yes, she gilds things, all kinds of things. So every couple of years gilders get together and learn new mad skills. Today I got to witness, and participate in a volunteer project gilding a museum in downtown Chicago. Wow!
Above photo you can see the before and after.
Here is one of the conference participants, and professions gold/gild artist and tradesperson up on a ladder applying gold leaf to the damaged ceiling. The former work was flawed or damaged....and this project allows people to help out and learn. It was pretty amazing to be able to be in a museum when it was closed and see this work being done.
I was able to help out. My first job was to pick up gold leaf that flys off the ceiling or drops as it's being applied. All the bits that fall off or are "skewered" (extra overlapping gold leaf) are reclaimed and recycled. The gold can be melted and cleaned and turned into ignots. So I used a cone bag....which was purposed into a cone from a paper shopping bag. I used a paint brush to gather the fallen gold leaf.
See, the little bits of gold on the floor? Thats what gets recycled.
The museum is The Gleaner House....which was built in late 1800's...I'll post a link later. You can see that it is a fully furnished and from a huge rich family...and it is massive.
Here is the whole gang! We were working from 10-4 so of course we went for a break and lunch. After lunch I climbed up on the scaffolding and was gilding all afternoon. We are going back tomorrow morning for another day of work.