Tuesday afternoon, we were paid a visit by Dmitry Pankov, from okMitch Studio, the mural and sign shop in NYC, which he runs along with his partner Angel Saemai. Above, you can see the window they gilded for Brooklyn Circus, in (of all places) Brooklyn, a very refined and elegant counterpart to the window we gilded for Brooklyn Circus, in (naturally) San Francisco. In fact, on their website, you can see a number of lovely examples of hand laid gold on glass. They, too, have recently decorated a Napoletana-style pizzeria.
There's a bit of a difference, in that they don't seem to do much hand-lettering, except in wall mural applications. If you click through to their Brooklyn Circus photo set, you can see some shots with the stencil adhered to the glass, and the gold laid over top. Ken and I were just talking this morning about the process of silk screening back-up paint behind the gold, handy particularly for doing repeated gilds across multiple windows (as seen while driving past the Absinthe Bar, in Hayes Valley), and this looks like another fine method for keeping things regular, in print making fashion.
I haven't actually done it either of those ways, myself. I'm not especially compelled to, nor am I put off by it, so long as they're well-designed signs, in the end. I mean, I could turn up my nose at all the mechanical intervention, but really, I use the same machines to produce a lot of the patterns we use in our own signs. Not having a stencil makes it a bit harder to stay inside the lines, true, but regardless, I'm glad people are still hand laying gold leaf on glass, however they go about backing it up. As I tell clients, the nicest thing about gilding is, when the sign is done, it looks like gold. I'm also glad that now I've met someone in NYC who I can recommend to the folk who occasionally call or write, looking for a gilder 'round those parts. And, hey, they'll do murals, too.