For some years, we've proudly carried a line of European “water gilded” gold leaf frames, including the Art Nouveau-style frame pictured above. Made in Eastern Europe, the wooden frames are first assembled, then carved (here with the intertwined “whiplash” bordering), then painted with gesso (to smooth-out the wood, build-up any voids, and provide a suitable surface for the gold leaf). After this, thin sheets of 22 karat gold leaf are laid over the frame and affixed with a special binder. Before the binder dries, the gold leaf surface is “burnished” with brushes, fingers, rags and various rubbing tools to create a smooth surface on the object—which can give the appearance of being made of solid gold.
Gold leaf is a thin sheet of gold, hammered from a nugget of the precious metal. Water gilding, a centuries-old art form, is considered the finest method of applying gold to an object. It has been used over the centuries to decorate sculpture, jewelry, religious objects, glass, architecture and picture frames. Gilding (by various methods) has been found in artworks throughout the world—from Egyptian death masks to Indian sculpture to Roman architecture to Russian religious icons—and as early as 3,000 BC. Gold leaf has been (and is still sometimes) used decoratively on food items, especially candies, desserts or alcoholic drinks. Such “gourmet gold” is pure decorative luxury; it adds no flavor whatever to the food it embellishes.
We’ve been carrying these beautifully-crafted frames for several years now, including the Art Nouveau style shown above. It just may be the perfect gift for Mom! Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.
LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed. While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
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