The great gold size story …

The great gold size story …

I went to teach two workshops in the Blue Mountains recently. To save on carrying all my art supplies for the participants by air, I either send materials ahead and/or rely on purchasing goods at the local art suppliers.

This time I purchased a gold size from the local. A size I have been using for near on twenty-five years. It is a safe, easy and fool-proof size for easy gilding … everything sticks to it – real and imitation gold alike.

With a glance at the label, I picked the bottle off the shelf. I held it up and thought “this is very white”. Normally the product is a creamy colour but I though no more of it. Then came the class demonstration. Opened the bottle and the product did not smell at all like the gilding size I was used to and I immediately knew this is not the product the label says it is.

I am well experienced with handling gold, gold sizes and gilding both traditionally and modern. In fact, I am teaching a class in Portland Oregon for the OCAC in June specifically on gilding and I was to use this product as one of the sizes.
Surrounded by a gaggle of eager students awaiting the glitz & glam of gold I gave my reservations about the size and to prove what I knew to be true I demonstrated in my usual fashion all the way saying the gold will not stick. Of course the gold didn’t stick. Phew … step one over.

I came back to my home studio in Tassie via Canberra and ran some trials with my own bottles of the size and some bottles of friends.  I knew then, unquestionably, the labeling production had gone awry.  Wanting to get to the bottom of the problem a.s.a.p. and make amends with my students I wrote to, then spoke with, the General Manager of the manufacturing company and put my case. Obviously they wanted the bottle and as I had lots of photographic evidence, my gilding swatches & my student as witnesses I happily sent it off with some swatches for the manufacturer too.

The minute they got the bottle the General Manager said:

The package just arrived and even at first glance I can confirm it is PVA. The labels are old labels and we were able to identify when this might have occurred. We can only sincerely apologize. We will send you 3 replacement bottles today. Thank you for your understanding and best of luck for your upcoming workshops.

Kind Regards … etc. etc. etc.

And … they did a product recall … and I got three new bottles yesterday! I must say I could have done without the hassle but two things have come from this unwanted intrusion into my frenetic life – I am really proud of my students for believing in me and two, I am very very pleased with the company for their immediate attention to the problem. I feel sorry for anyone who has tried this product and found it didn’t work … thinking it might have been them.

Note Bene: a pva will allow real gold to adhere to it but this particular pva is very thin and did not work at all. It dries flat unlike most pva’s I use.


ronnie said…
good detective work 99! (you've probably saved a mountain of frustrated wanna-be guilder from a monster headache) have fun in portland!
Fiona Dempster said…
Well done you - but what a shocker to go thru!
Gemma Black said…
I sure could have done without it ... oh well!

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