It’s been months of waiting for this workshop but I’m finally headed to Boise, Idaho to complete a three-day gold gilding workshop with Noel B. Weber. I have been giddy for so long and am proud to have been able to support his book that is coming out with his sketches! I’m fangirling over here. Don’t mind me.
Wednesday: Workshop Travel Time
Tim, Ashley, and I are flying out today, Wednesday, to be able to get into Boise with enough time to get settled and be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the morning. We know it’s going to be three long days of painting, gilding, and straight schooling! I feel so lucky to be attending this workshop with them, they have become fast friends who share my passion for this insanely traditional craft.
Made it to the airport and met up with Ashley, she had to fly in from Tucson and met us for the connecting flight in Phoenix. You can literally feel all of our excitement to get to Boise and get started! See you on the ground!
OMG. Okay, I’m checking in after what we thought was going to be a travel-only day. After being met by Noel at the airport he took us straight to the studio (none of us had a problem with that!!) I love seeing other people’s studios. You can learn so much about the processes they have and how to better yourself as an artist.
We headed down to the shop after, he set up a couple of additional projects for us that we had requested weeks ago. He purchased a scalloper and set up a glue chipping project! WHUUUT?! I’m really impressed and excited that someone would put in the extra time and resources to help us newbies learn even more.
We quickly got to work cleaning the glass, prepping the masks and laying the glue! While that doesn’t sound like many tasks, it is a lot of work. This trade is about precision and attention to detail. That in itself takes time, patience and focus. Don’t get me wrong, we goofed around a bit too ?. By the time we were finished, we were able to grab some food at a great little place on the ground level of where we were staying.
Thursday: Start Laying that Gold!
The three of us were up and ready to go Thursday morning. Ashley is always up super early, she does her coffee shop thing. Tim was up working like the maniac he is and I really just rolled out of bed and hoped there would be some fruit left. I’m not a morning person. You will learn this if you have or continue to follow me.
As we got into the shop, Noel went over some of his amazing pieces. Have you seen the mermaid one? It’s one of my favorites. Then after some more glass cleaning, we started laying our gold for our second project, The ‘Y’. One thing I’ve learned with this trade is time management is key. When you lay gold, pull paint, or glue chip you have a waiting game going on, so if you are brilliant with your time management you will be able to get a lot done in shorter amounts of time. It’s basically a game of being on your toes, knowing what projects you’re working on, and being able to move, shift and pivot.
We started the next project, Boise. We needed to lay down the first pass of gold but we did something a little different. There was an ombré effect that we were going to add to the gold. We laid 23k (deep), 18k (lemon), and 12k (white) gold to achieve the ombré effect and while it’s subtle, it’s a really fun Easter egg in the piece.
The class was supposed to end at five, we ended up staying until 11. We really do love what we are doing.
Friday: Acid Pour Day
First thing in the morning, we got all of our panels organized and poured the acid etching on and let it sit to eat away at the glass. After it was finished, each panel needed to be cleaned and neutralized.
We broke the workshop for lunch at the Basque Market. As we were walking there, a man was outside preparing the food. It smelled delightful. Everyone got a plate and lined up to be served. We sat at a long family-style table in this little building and just spent more time getting to know each other. I love this community as a second family. This is the place I feel like I fit in.
After lunch, the ‘T’s were dried and recleaned we were ready to gild. While the gild was drying, I had to decide what the style of the ‘T’ would be. It looked old school eighties and all I could think of was the movie Roger Rabbit. After a quick Google search, I found the perfect scene from the movie I would pull colors from to paint my piece.
Saturday: A Day For Fixing Mistakes
Remember that ‘Y’ project that we put slow size on? Yea, well I put it on too thick so as it dried the size created small pools that showed up when I put the gold on. No good. Noel pulled me aside and told me I would have to go in and clean out all the gold and the size. It was no easy feat. NO. EASY. FEAT. It took me about an hour and a half to get all the gold and gooey size out of my glass panel.
The rest of my time during the day was spent painting Boise and ‘Y’. Though, I was also constantly checking on my glue chip projects hoping that it would completely chip off completely on its own. Unfortunately, they didn’t completely chip so I needed to use a razor blade to get the glue off to finish the piece with a gild.
Sunday: Pack It Up, Roll Out!
All of us crammed as much as possible into five days what should have been three. We were in the shop as early as possible trying to add the finishing touches to our pieces with optimal drying time before we had to pack all of them into cute little cardboard carrying cases. It was really sad to leave Boise when you spend hours with people that have become friends you don’t want to go back to your real life. Tim, Ashley, and I loaded everything up and headed to the airport to head back to Phoenix.
I can’t express the amount of gratitude I have to Noel and his entire family for adopting us for a weekend and sharing all the knowledge they could in this workshop. I feel privileged to not only put the practice into action but maybe one day share it with the next generation as well!
Check out Noel B. Weber and his amazing work for yourself. If you ever have the opportunity to take a workshop with him, I highly recommend it.