Minerva Workshop

Unit 2, Dove Centre, 109 Bartholomew Road, London, NW5 2BJ

Sunday 25th July 2021

10 - 4pm

Book through Minerva Workshop's website:


Polly will talk you through the tools and materials used to gild a detailed design of your own choosing onto a shellacked panel. With a choice of different shades of real and imitation gold, mica and metal powders in an array of colours, and bright iridescent inks, you will finish your day having made a very individual and contemporary piece of traditional craftsmanship. All materials and tools are provided

Japanning uses gold leaf and shellac to create a beautiful ornate and glossy finish. It is the European imitation of Asian lacquerwork and is most commonly seen on furniture, however makes impressive pieces of art as well. 

Originating in India, China and Japan as a decorative coating for pottery, Japanning made its way into Europe by the 17th century, where European’s adapted the technique and depicted images of the ‘Orient’. 

The original Asian lacquerwork uses East Asian lacquer (resin made from the toxic sap of the Chinese lacquer tree native to the area), while the European technique uses varnishes that have a resin base, like shellac, applied in layers that are then polished, to give a smooth glossy finish. Shellac is a resin secreted by the Lac Beetle, in India and Thailand.

Gilding is a decorative technique for applying a very thin coating of gold to solid surfaces such as metal, wood, porcelain, or stone. Oil gilding and water gilding are the two most common types of gilding.