Diana Probst, Cambridge Artist

Making shell gold – decanting it

shell gold in a mussel shell and in bar formAfter making the shell gold powder, I settled it and washed in a clean jar, but that gave me the problem that I then had gold in a jar. As it dried, the powder stuck to the bottom. So, I put in more water. If you make it yourself, you can miss the last drying step.

While the gold was still wet, I put in a drop or two of gum Arabic, and mixed it with the back end of a paintbrush I’ve dedicated to gold. That was too gummy to really pour, but now I could dilute it with another few drops of water, and then some poured out. I let that dry overnight, and repeated the process. There’s a lot of waiting time, but the task itself isn’t hard.

It’s quite important not to let it stand for too long, or mould begins to grow in the gum, and you have to clean it all over again. That happened to me once, but fortunately gold really doesn’t like to react with much, so it was easy to grind it back out. However, take a word of warning and don’t leave damp gum Arabic in a jar.

Soon I’ll be testing my own home-made shell gold. I’m rather chuffed about that.

If you want my spectacularly good art on your walls, I am available for commission from anything from a postcard to a fully rendered oil piece. Yes, gold leafing can be arranged. I am on Twitter as @DianaProbst and on Facebook at Diana Probst – Cambridge. For eMail, enquiries at dianaprobst dot com .