Illumination with Shell Gold – Bridgette K Schneider – PR

Dates: August 7,8,9 – This is 3 day class
Class Price: $635.00
Minimum 2 Student
Max. 8 Students

About the class:

In this three-day class we will explore different ways to transform loose leaf gilding metals into a brushable form commonly called “shell gold” for use in traditional paper illumination. Learning to make it also allows a gilder to make custom blends of shell metal that may not be available from a commercial supplier.

Shell gold opens up new possibilities in gilding because its form offers versatility of application that cannot be achieved with leaf. It adds visual variety to leaf gilded works, allows for gilding metals to be blended and offers interesting illustrative options. Learning to make it also allows a gilder to make custom blends of shell metal that may not be available from a commercial supplier.

On the first day we will start the process of preparing the metal leaves and coloring paper samples. On the second day, we will continue with paper preparation by using sizing and smoothing techniques that enhance the gleam of the shell gold which are traditional to Middle Eastern illumination, have an introduction to making watercolors, and explore a few illumination techniques that can be used in Celtic, Chinese, and Middle Eastern styles. 

On the final day we will learn different methods of applying shell metals to paper, discuss common mistakes and how to avoid them, review things that shell metal can do that leaf can’t, and tackle the subject of metals that tarnish– before making a final illumination to take home.

*It is recommended that fingernails are short, and sleeves are not loose.

Early registration ends June 14! After registration is complete you will receive a confirmation email with a link to access all conference classes.


Materials included in price:

includes glass jars, and materials used in class
Many thanks to W&B Gold Leaf who will be supplying the metal leaf.

Students need to bring:

  • Pointed watercolor brushes size 3/0 and 2/0 for detailed work and size 3 for washes. 
  • More brushes if you like.
  • Inexpensive flat short bristle brush size 2 or 4
  • One new kitchen sponge about 3″ or 4″ wide and/or a similarly wide paint brush
  • One or more of the following burnishers:*
  • smooth polished rock egg
  • fist sized cowry shell
  • kitchen spoon
  • smooth agate stone or a “square flat agate burnisher” 
  • One dog tooth burnisher or small rounded very smooth polished agate stone
  • Recommended but optional: needle nose agate burnisher
  • Four small glass jars or seashells that can hold 2 oz. of water. Shells are the traditional way of storing shell metal – please be sure there are no holes in the bottom though that can leak water. 
  • Optional: Thin cotton gloves. 

*Burnishers – Contact instructor for purchasing details.

Please contact instructor for details

About the teacher:

Bridgette uses ancient techniques of precious metal gilding, hand-made pigments, modern materials and hand-held drafting tools to create ornamental works, illuminations, murals and jewelry. Bridgette often uses locally sourced organic material and crushed semi-precious stones and is influenced from living in Japan, Israel, China, and the woods of the Pacific Northwest and global curiosity. Bridgette holds a BA in industrial design from the Art Institute of Portland and finished four courses with the King’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts in London in collaboration with the VM Center for Traditional Arts in Pakistan in 2022. Bridgette worked as a consultant gilder at a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Israel, painted ornamental ceilings in China and the US and helped to restore gilt work at historical sites in the US with the Society of Gilders. Last year, Bridgette completed two gilded murals for Wayfarer Theaters in Highland Park, Illinois, was a guest lecturer at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston Idaho and at Jim Croft’s north Idaho bookbinding intensive and traveled to London to study Mamluk manuscript illumination at the King’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts. Bridgette also teaches for the Society of Gilders and at Moscow Contemporary in Idaho.