Clay Bole Recipe

Clay Bole Recipe
Clay Bole is comprised of natural ingredients and is bound with such natural glues as rabbit skin glue, hide glue, gelatin.....

While there are some general guidelines on how to use our Bole Clays, these guidelines should only be used as a starting point to formulate your own recipe, depending on such environmental conditions as humidity and temperature. Additionally, different types of glue have different binding powers and therefore recipes need to adjusted to account for these fluctuations.
As a standard ratio, we recommend mixing our Rabbit Skin Glue, powder with 12-15 parts water. Once the rabbit skin glue has been soaked, it needs to be warmed in a double boiler in order to prevent the rabbit skin glue solution from coming to a boil.

Meanwhile, the Bole Clay needs to be thinned out with water, until it reaches a consistency of cream. Once the Bole has been thinned, then it needs to be combined in a one to one ratio with the warm rabbit skin glue solution (one part glue solution : one part diluted Clay Bole).

Apply at least two to three layers of the Clay Bole over a panel that has been covered in a traditional chalk ground. The recipe can be found here: Traditional Gesso Chalk Ground.

Once the Clay Bole has dried, follow the directions in the Watergilding Tutorial.

This brief entry is only meant to offer a starting point for using Clay Bole. Master gilders spend decades perfecting their own recipes which are finely tuned to their environment and working method. Therefore, there is no standard recipe for working with the Clay Bole.

Suggested additional reading:
Practical Gilding, by Peter and Ann MacTaggart, Archetype Books, 2007



Michael Grenz
Date: 4/7/2015
water gilding clay bole
Patricia O'Connel
Date: 6/14/2017
I was so happy to discover this tutorial. Watergilding has always been a mystery to me and I have always wanted to try my hand at it. Since you sell your bole in such small quantities, I decided to take the leap. I bought some of the red bole and a small bag of rabbit skin glue and gave it a try. First of all, the bole is a beautiful smooth creamy texture and really easy to mix with the rabbit skin glue. Even on my first try, I was able to lay down an even layer of bole and burnish it with a piece of linen. Gorgeous! In my next experiment, I will try laying down some gold. I can already tell, that in one way or another this will become a part of my art making process. Thank you Sinopia
Ann Weaver
Date: 6/18/2017
Thank you for dispelling the mystery behind watergilding. I've felt like these recipes were locked away in some vault at the Vatican and you have given us a simple and straightforward approach to this age old method.

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