Two fortunate trainees, Ellen Wood and Tony Hassett, learned the traditional craft skills of gilding on the Cutty Sark ship in Greenwich on 6th and 7th August.
Master craftswoman Rachael Linton demonstrated the skills and explained the processes and techniques. Tony and Ellen were able to gild individual letters and some of the ‘Gingerbread’ of the Cutty Sark under Rachael’s supervision. The project was very kindly funded by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths.
Rachael was being employed to do the gilding by Campbell Smith & Co., a historic repair and restoration company which is undertaking repairs to the ‘Gingerbread’: repairing and remaking some of the carvings and then finishing them with gold leaf (gilding).
Here Rachael is showing how to gild the letters:
Ellen tries it herself:
And now Tony:
The letters before being cleaned up:
Then on to the ‘Gingerbread’:
Some of the decorative items had been removed for ease of gilding. Here the backing sheet is being removed from the gold leaf:
Ellen applies the adhesive:
Tony helps to finish the gilding:
The completed gilding; note the soft brush to remove the excess gold leaf:
And all this was filmed by Bruno Sorrentino for the Heritage Crafts Association’s DVD on Gilding.
The Heritage Crafts Association is most grateful not only to the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths for their generosity, but also to Rachael Linton for passing on the skills, Campbell Smith & Co, Cutty Sark Museum, Royal Museums Greenwich, Ellie Birkhead the project manager, Bruno Sorrentino the filmer and maker of the DVD and the HCA’s own Laura Southall, Projects Trustee.
Photographs: Ellie Birkhead
Sharon Blakey, Senior Lecturer, BA (Hons) Three Dimensional Design, Manchester School of Art, reports on Endangered Crafts, the collaborative project between the HCA and Manchester School of Art.
Endangered Crafts, which was based on the HCA’s Red List, culminated in a fabulous exhibition of works at Manchester Craft and Design Centre in May. Over 150 students from across the School participated in the project, with selected works exhibited as part of the School of Art’s Unit X Festival.
As expected the range of responses to the theme of ‘endangered crafts’ was wide ranging and design teams responded to the brief in original and unexpected ways. The Tradition Meets Technology team juxtaposed the handcraft skills of knitting, crochet and embroidery with a range of production technologies. Jaimie-Lee Wainman’s ceramic and 3D printed stacking bowls enable the user to hand embroider the outer skin of each vessel, developing knowledge of basic stitch methods whilst facilitating a contemplative act of making. Emma Bradburn wove together delicate strands of glass which were then slumped in the kiln and embellished post firing with hand threaded silk yarn, and the tasselled sculptural wall pieces by Textiles in Practice student Remy Storey were an interpretation of the detail, colour, scale and composition found in traditional passementerie.
Embroidery vessels: Slip cast ceramic, 3D print, embroidery silk
A number of teams relished the opportunity to learn new skills and processes. Neptunian, for example, were motivated by research into ancient coracle making, developing a flat-pack, self-assembly version for use during family holidays and outings. Sasuke embraced the art of blade making, learning how to forge steel to make a Japanese inspired kitchen knife using locally sourced oak and Damascus steel. Charcoal burning was the inspiration for a second year team who designed and built their own charcoal burner and produced a film to document the process. Influenced by charcoal’s properties of neutralising and purifying the air, Interactive Arts student Jourdana Duoba, combined ground charcoal with recycled paper to produce artefacts intended to reduce domestic odours when placed in interior spaces.
Students commented positively upon the value of the experience, with one student noting, “Unit X has helped personal discovery about my professional practice. Having the chance to hone skills and learn new ones made this project the highlight of my first year”.
Greta Bertram, former trustee of the HCA, who attended the final event was delighted with the outcome “…it was really interesting to see which crafts had inspired the students and the wide array of ways in which they had responded to the HCA/Radcliffe Red list. Working with the School of Art has been a really great experience.”
Contemporary passementerie, mixed media
Woven bowls: slumped glass, embroidery silk
All photographs copyright Manchester School of Art