After messing with the gold leaf, I decided perhaps my problems could be magically solved if I just use what the author recommended, gold foil—so, since the pmc hostess was placing an order with Arrow Springs, I asked her to get some for me. I figured, unlike the gold paint, even if it turned out to be a dead loss pmc-wise, it would be a nice luxury in the beadmaking department, as I'd never felt the greater expense of foil justified in the past.
After finally rounding up a piece of brass and borrowing yet another member's hot plate to heat the beads for gilding in the approved manner, it dawned on me that, as a beadmaker I have a) kevlar gloves, even more heat resistant than the leather Ms. Fago recommends, b) a kiln with a side opening door, in addition to the standard top opening and c) a temperature controller pre-programmed to hold 890 for hours on end (for my lead glass annealing schedule) —in fact, that's its default temperature.
It seemed to me infinitely easier simply to park my pmc at the mouth of that side opening, using the kevlar gloves or the long tweezers (again, standard lampworking equipment) to remove the beads, gild them, stick them back in the kiln as needed to warm up, rather than mess with a hot plate with no temperature control and no good way aside from sticking a bamboo skewer on the sheet metal parked on its coils to determine whether I had the correct temperature. Also, I don't have a stone burnisher, but a sharpened graphite rod seems to work just as well. And, either my foil wasn't heavy enough or I just don't get it, but really, for the organic ragged edges I go for, folding leaf over several times seemed to work just as well. (The big square in yesterday's post was gilded with foil, and you see it didn't work especially well. The shallower-textured beads shown today were just fine, though.)
Reverse. 2005–2006 I left one side ungilded to give my partner maximum design flexibility. Note also I'm using larger circles of pmc on smaller marbles to give slightly puffier lentils. None of these beads is larger than 12mm, if that.
So there you have it—my variations on the technique, which take advantage of the tools I already have on hand—there's no doubt, if starting from scratch, buying a thrift-shop hot plate is the way to go (they're nice for preheating murrine, too), but one of the nice things about trying a lot of different, overlapping media, is that, eventually, the tools do start to cross over.
file created 19jan06
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