Everywhere the Glint of Gold

Of course it’s not just paintings that get a touch of gold, we love to use it in our textile work too. In the quilt above, Rare Beauty I, I gilded almost the entire surface! This is a wholecloth quilt which has the orchid digitally printed, then the addition of the gilding before finally the machine quilting and digitally stitched lettering. Gold thread of course, is a whole topic of conversation, but one that we’ll save for another day. In this quilt, I used gold coloured thread, but not actually metallic. You can see more of this quilt on my website here.

Gold is always eye-catching, partly because of it’s obvious opulence, but also because of how it attracts the eye as it reflects light. This makes it ideal for using in the focal point of any design. In this quilt, To the Brim, above and detail below, Linda created a border of gold printed lettering. This quilt is all about its border, or at least the suggestion of a border that frames the central sun/moon motif.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this roundup of some of the ways we use gold in our work. It’s not an exhaustive list, so I’m sure it’s a topic that we’ll return to. If you have questions then why not drop us a line and we’ll try to answer them next time.

In the meantime, if you’d like to have a go at using gold in your work, please take a look at our workshop collection, A Glint of Gold. This is a group of four video workshops that cover some of the methods we’ve touched upon in this article. Just click on the link below to take a look.

A Glint of Gold

Who can resist a touch of gold? Discover how to add that metallic gleam to your paper and fabric projects. In this workshop collection we’ll show you how to add gold using a variety of media from pens to ink and gold leaf. Learn how to apply gold to your sketchbook pages and to fabric.

Linda recently came across an interesting article on ArtUK about the use of gold in art, we’ve linked to it here if you’d like to read it. It’s fascinating to think about how gold has captivated artists, makers and lovers of art and beautiful objects for millennia. The article rounds up some great examples from a diverse collection of art and objects.

We love using gold in our work too, and we hoped you might enjoy seeing a small selection…

Let’s start with this painting by Linda of the blackbird perched on the teapot. If you’re familiar with this blue and terracotta type pottery, you’ll know that it’s quite heavily gilded so using gold acrylic paint was a natural choice for this one. It’s painted on canvas. As is this little kingfisher, also done in acrylic. We’re fortunate as artists and makers that there’s a wide range of very affordable ‘gold’ to work with, from paint to marker pens…

Linda’s picked out a few of her favourites here:

Winsor & Newton Gold Professional acrylic paint – this is highly pigmented and provides a dense and rich gold. Layer it over a warm toned underpainting for lovely results.

FW and Liquitex acrylic inks. Both of these manufacturers have metallic inks in the range and they’re ideal for use in mixed media and sketchbook work.

Posca paint pen – Perfect for when you want to add gold details or line work, either on a painting or in a sketchbook.

Sennelier oil pastels – these are Linda’s favourite oil pastels, rich and buttery in texture with lots of gold pigment.

And finally, gold leaf – this is imitation gold leaf, much more affordable than the real thing. It’s applied to a sized surface and sealed afterwards (real gold will never tarnish, but imitation gold might).

Another painting by Linda here, this time a teacup, painted in acrylic on a wooden panel. The little dots of gold to suggest the gilded pattern were added with a paintbrush, but it could be done easily with a paint pen.

In the detail below can you see some areas where Linda’s used standard yellow paint, rather than gold. This is a good option if you think too much gold is a bit relentless! Just combine your metallics with a range of yellows.

Maybe the inclusion of gold in a project naturally lends itself to a maximalist approach. In the photo on the left you’ll see a close up detail of an embroidered piece by Linda. It’s a little purse and what better object to go to town on with the detail and embellishment? She’s used small scraps of metallic leather for the appliqué on the central spine of the design. Leather is fun to use in a project like this because of course it doesn’t fray so you can cut quite small shapes with ease. Again, the thread used here is a gold coloured rayon rather than a metallic thread, but in this instance it creates quite a gilded look don’t you think? Notice how Linda’s used a contrast thread colour on the bobbin and purposely ‘whipped’ it to the front of the work. This creates an optical mixing of colour and a richness of effect that’s not dissimilar to the use of a coloured underpainting.

Sometimes just a touch of metallic is enough. In the example above, Linda’s used foiling on fabric to add a gleam. This method, of using an adhesive and foil sheets can create either a solid metallic area, or as you see here, a fragmented application that suggest a more distressed and aged appearance.

Creating a similar look, but with a different technique, is this example of painted gold on a quilt by Linda. Here she’s quilted the surface and then enhanced that texture by carefully applying gold paint. It can be done with an acrylic or fabric paint on a roller, but for more control we like to use a Markal/Shiva paint stick.