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Magazine    April 2017

For centuries, European artisans have been building frames in the Neoclassical tradition of water gilding, an elaborate process in which clay, gesso and precious metal leaf are applied by hand to carved wooden frames. Until now, these individually crafted designs were unavailable to most American consumers, but custom framemaker Larson-Juhl has teamed up with an atelier in Lille, France to introduce this process to the United States.

Craig Ponzio, owner and chief designer for Larson-Juhl, creates his designs in the company’s Georgia studio, then sends them to the Lille factory, where they are gilded by any of the 30 artisans who have received more than five years of training in this painstaking technique, which involves removing each delicate piece of leaf from a one-and-a-half inch stack of 10,000 and applying it to the frame using a swift and precise motion. Once set in place, the gold or silver is then gently rubbed with a sheep’s-wool cloth to create a lustrous finish. The effect is a richly textured surface with an antique finish.


Larson Juhl
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