Materials and media.
I use vellum, mainly calfskin and Kelmscott vellum, obtained from William Cowley, for my illuminated paintings. Sizes range from full skins to 'carpet pages' and smaller offcuts. The irregular shape of many of these vellums holds a special fascination for me, and I love how my imagination is both stimulated and formed by the boundaries.
The firm of William Cowley has been in continuous production since 1870 in the small market town of Newport Pagnell and even today is managed by the same family that founded the business over 130 years ago.
Little has changed with regard to the production, the same techniques being used today as in the formation of this company. Indeed, many of the factory workers have spent their entire working lives with the firm as it takes many years to master the craft of making parchment.
Similarly, the traditional and ancient technique of gilding is an important element of many works. I employ only high grade 24ct gold leaf.
The presentation and mounting of the original vellums is completed generally using handmade solid wood oak frames. Other materials, such as exotic wood inlays, enamels, anodised titanium and semi precious stones can form important pictorial elements.
Vellums are suspended within the conservation mounts using 18ct yellow gold. Larger vellums (full skins and carpet pages) employ other presentation methods such as the use of 'pippins' and Italian poplar gesso boards.