page is dedicated to the gold leaf process that I, DAVID FERRO, use in
the production of my weathervanes. Gold is the most precious and
valuable of metals. It is used by the wealthy, the powerful, and the
spiritual alike. It has become
increasingly important throughout history to ordinary people as well.
Today gold is used for electrical connections in computers, given as
gifts, eaten as food, used for dentistry, woven into fabrics, and it
embellishes everything from books and furniture, to automobile hood
ornaments. Its value lies not only in its beauty but also in its rarity
and ability to withstand corrosion and tarnish. Almost every human being
is fascinated and lured by the glitter of gold!
hundred years ago, when New England companies were producing hundreds of
weathervanes from cast iron molds, 99% of those vanes were gilt with
gold leaf. It was an integral part of the finished product. A verdigris
weathervane was seen then, as we would see a rusted automobile today.
However, it is a contemporary trend to leave the copper bare and allow
it to verdigris; which is now considered to have a classic appeal.
Gilding is an art unto itself. An artists confidence begins with using the finest tools and materials. He practices patience and methodology for the best possible results. My gilding skills are the result of a short apprenticeship with the well known Cape Cod woodcarver, Mr. Paul White, and a course in gilding from the Rhode Island School of Design with John Philibert of the Smithsonian. I have been gilding since 1995 and am a member of the Society of Gilders.
Gold leaf is manufactured in a wide range of colors and karats. Leaf composed of 100% gold is rated 24 karat. To provide a variety of colors, copper and silver is mixed with gold. Adding these metals slightly lowers the karat value of the leaf but increases its strength and changes its color. When copper is added gold assumes a warmer tone. When silver is added, gold becomes pale. The amount of copper or silver in 23 Karat [or better] gold is so low that it will not hinder its integrity or ability to last outdoors for 30 years or more. Each manufacturer produces its leaf with a different mix of metals creating different shades as well as different thickness'. For my weathervanes I consistently use 23 karat or better deep double gold from Germany or Italy. Though, not often available, I prefer to use Russian gold leaf. I feel It is the warmest, richest, and thickest leaf I have used. To my knowledge, I am a pioneer in using Palladium to accent weathervanes. Palladium is a silver-colored metal that does not tarnish as silver does. It allows me to chrome the bumpers on a car weathervane or 'whiten' the spots on a loon figure.
Weathervanes by David Ferro - Bio and Portfolio
If you would like to learn
how to make your own weathervanes, David offers one class each year.
For more information on weathervanes or gold leaf and gilding visit your local library or the following sites:
Copyright 2013 Ferro Weathervanes.