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22-07-2013 Winkler portrait in Audi Magazine summer 2013

In the summer edition 2013 of Audi Magazine a portrait article about Erik Winkler was published.

This year's theme of the summer edition of Audi Magzine is about 'finesse'. Besides some fun and interesting articles about the famous old soccer player Johan Cruyff, a pediatric surgeon, an etiquette expert and a pastry chef, the glossy magazine, with a circulation of 150,000, wrote in a full page portrait about the finesse Erik Winkler needs when working with gold leaf. The article tells about master gilder Erik Winkler’s quest for the history of gold lead and the technology and performance to gild a Schitterend (shiny) art work with finesse.

Here you can read the magazine’s text:

Erik Winkler, master gilder.

Like the three generations before him, Erik Winkler (41) is passionate about gold leaf. With his company Schitterend (translated: Shiny) he specializes in gilded decorations behind glass and gilded furniture, plaster and other objects. He is also an expert in hand-painted decorative letters.

"My father, grandfather and great-grandfather were also into the art of working with gold leaf, but as a youngster I've never consciously seen their process. All my knowledge I have gained from specialists abroad and twenty years of self-study. I have shelves full of antique books with old manuals and techniques. It is always a process of trying, making mistakes, trying again... The finesse of my work primarily lies in perseverance and patience. And to always want to continue until the result is perfect.

The most complicated of all is the technique of gilding behind glass. Here the toughest professional techniques come together. Behind glass you see everything, every little mistake is magnified. The glass itself cannot have scratches and the surface must be spotless before I start. It’s not something simple like of a spray of Glasex. No, on a square meter glass I can easily scrub and clean for an hour. Then after the acid etching and sandblasting I can get started with the gilding. Gold leaf is an extremely thin sheet that I apply with a flat brush applicator. There should not be any doors, not even a breath of air of someone next to me, because the gold leaf can blow away in a heartbeat. Finally comes the polishing. Only the softest cotton I use, because it cannot have a single grain in it. And so it goes on; gilding is precision work. Therefore it is more expensive but also much more posh than lots of modern techniques and it remains much, much longer. Fortunately there is a growing interest again in The Netherlands for this craft. Private collectors and companies increasingly want to have a unique piece. And the little bakery around the corner is also willing to pay more for a gilded advertising panel on the shop front that radiates the same sense of quality of his own products."


Interested in more gold leaf stories? Read here, or checkout Erik Winkler's webshop.

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