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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Gold Leaf

Many of the elements of the Arch are decorated in real gold. The gold is applied in a foil format (not paint). The incredibly thin sheets of gold leaf come on carier sheets of heavier parchment. The artisan uses wooden tweezers to pick up 1" x 5" strips of gold. Each larger sheet is cut on site down to the smaller 1x5 size:

Artisan holds the sheet over the area to be foiled. He then rubs the backing to transfer the gold foil to the arch:

The carrier sheet flutters away in the breeze. Notice how the gold leaf covers too much area and is not yet the final shape:

Applying the gold foil to the scroll work on a piece of (concrete) bamboo:

After pressing the foil into place, the excess bits are wiped off with a piece of cheesecloth. I caught some of the bits waffing in the air, and ate them. Gold leaf (presumably in small quantities) is supposedly good for you, I learned that from a Vegas chef at a cooking lesson where we applied bits of gold leaf to our Japanese icecream deserts:

The finished scroll work. It should stay bright for about 100 years. Rain will wash over it and keep it clean:

Gold leaf sheets are available at craft and art supply stores for those who want to try this at home.

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