Diana Probst, Cambridge Artist

Making shell gold

I have been making Leaf Gold into Shell Gold. That requires grinding it up on honey. If you want to see just how thin gold leaf is, take a look:

Pretty, ain’t it? A casual movement of the hand that just brushes past it can ruin your leaf, your book of leaves, and your day.

Photo 14-07-2015 12 29 53 (1)I ground up that gold leaf (along with several others) in honey. If you don’t have a carrier for the grinding, it just gloops together. Gold is so soft it can be worked cold, so if you push small bits together, they stick to each other. It started as flakes and ended up, well over an hour later, as a faintly scintillating brown honeyed goop. Then I washed off the honey in clean water by repeated dilution. I added some pre-prepared gum Arabic, and that’s a bit too liquid, but I believe that it’ll end up properly dry and thick once I evaporate off the water. Then I’ll have pure gold watercolour paint. Then, I have to learn how to use that.