At Stockholms Förgyllning & Bildhuggeri Lotta and Christer restore gilded antiques and creates new ones from wood. To visit the workshop at Upplandsgatan is like leaving our present time of mass and machine production, and step into a world where the craft is still important.
Next to the work benches you find rococo desks with wood carved details and on the store’s walls hangs gilded mirror frames with squiggly ornamentation.
“We’re working with an old craft that’s disappearing,” says Lotta, gilder. She learned furniture restoration and gilding at an art school in Italy. The skill of the craft she got from working in two Italian workshops.
At Stockholms Förgyllning & Bildhuggeri you step into a world where the craft is still important.
Both Lotta and Christer take pride in the true craftsmanship.
“Even if the customer asks us to paint over something fast with gold color, we don’t compromise on quality. The ground work is also very important since the foundation reflects the gold. We would never hand over an object we were not pleased with,” says Lotta.
To restore the original condition of a mirror or a desktop requires knowledge of the different styles of the epochs of time. And you also need time. First you build the ground and then you polish it. Clay and glue are mixed into poliment which is used to get the gold to fasten. The gold, which is pounded by hand into paper-thin sheets, is finally added and then polished and patinated. Some parts, however, are kept mat to enhance the details.
The time it takes to do all this is the most costly part, and therefore attempts were made to streamline the process in the 1930’s. The gold was no longer painted, instead it was sprayed. Lotta shows a wall clock where the foundation with the gold has flaked off from the wood surface. In the middle of the 1700s it was instead the materials that was most expensive part. Therefore they stinted and used brass blades for the mat surfaces. The result was a colder tone than the warm gold. The wood was replaced by papier-mâché, or form mass hung on steel wire, that rusted with time. Each antique hides a history under the secondary gilding.
Christer and Lotta
Everything can be restored and all items are worth restoring
– Christer Björkman –
“But everything can be restored,” assures Christer and says that all items are worth restoring, if not for the the auction value for the sentimental value. Christer worked as a carpenter and then studied wood carving in the small town Östervåla. After ten years in gilding, he began working with Lotta and started Stockholms Förgyllning & Bildhuggeri in 2010.
When Christer isn’t restoring antiques from the Baroque and Rococo, he creates new ones in a more massive, darker style that he calls My Skull. Here chandeliers and desks are decorated with skulls and leather armchairs with studs. The pop culture aslo has its place: Christer creates shields inspired by the television series Game of Thrones. In addition to providing variety, he hopes that this side-project entices a younger crowd to come the store.
My Skull Chandelier
Lotta and Christer wish that more people had the opportunity to see the work behind. They usually give curious customers that have the time a tour of the studio. And for those who want to try the craft they also have workshops in the evenings. At these workshops they welcome a group of people that get to try both sculpture and gilding. The evening ends with snacks and mingle – when the participants finally get off their work benches.
“Most people don’t want to quit,” says Lotta and laughs.
Sponsored article in collaboration with Stockholms Förgyllning & Bildhuggeri.