Elisabetta Mason

Restoration and gilding workshop

Elisabetta Mason

Restoration and gilding workshop

"The important thing is to give free rein to your creativity... to be able to do what you have dedicated your life to... and continue to fill your eyes with beauty"


Elisabetta Mason is a gilder who followed in the footsteps of her father Luciano, a gilding craftsman himself since 1940. Graduating in Oriental Languages at the Ca' Foscari University of Venice, she began her business in 1986, treasuring all the secrets of the art of gilding which includes two main techniques: "gouache" and "mission". In the first one, used for interiors, the gold is laid on a foundation, called bolo, of clayey fat earth that allows for the burnishing or the polished result; the second one, both for interiors and exteriors, uses a powerful adhesive based on varnish and oil. It is for this reason this technique produces very resistant results, but it doesn't reach the shine of the "a guazzo" technique. The ornamental elements of the gondola, moreover, require a particular technique, the 'mordant gilding' that takes the peculiarities of water and saltiness of the lagoon into account. The piece is prepared with a yellow exterior primer and a layer of oil mordant. A sort of delicate ritual follows: the 'booklet' of gold leaf is placed on a leather cushion. The sheets are "leafed through" by blowing, grabbed with a special knife and, resting on the cushion, cut. Then, with the penéta (a brush made of goat or marten hair), electrically charged on the hair, they are picked up and laid on the piece. Her collections are called "Contaminations ... oriental", "Disorder and ... transparencies" and are productions in plaster with acrylic finish, pure gold, tempera, and watercolor. In her laboratory in Santa Croce, she organizes various types of courses on durability and guided tours with demonstrations during which all the steps of the process are presented, starting from the wooden object all the way to the finished product. 

Elisabetta Mason – Laboratorio di restauro e doratura
Santa croce 1844
320 0615881

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