Kanazawa Yasue Gold Leaf Museum

Whilst in Kanazawa, I visited the Yasue Gold Leaf Museum. I’m mentioning it here on my Learning Blog because I was amazed to learn about the lengthy process used to make gold leaf and the old machinery and tools still being used today. Almost all golf leaf made in Japan is produced in Kamazawa. In order to make the gold leaf, special washi paper is also made, sheets of which are placed between each piece of golf leaf at each stage of the hammering process. Did you know that the final thickness of each piece of gold leaf is approximately 1/10,000mm? Incredible!

At the museum I saw examples of gold leaf on folding screens, lacquer-ware, fabrics, ceramics, calligraphy and glass. The few days later, I visited the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto. The whole building is covered in lacqueur followed by gold leaf. It is stunning!

There are many examples of gold leaf in Japan and I think it looks beautiful when woven in cloth or on paintings/screens. I bought some lovely gold papers which are very strong and could be stitched and included in some mixed-media work. I have a desire to try out some Klee-inspired collages using these papers, combining them with various coloured and patterned pieces of washi paper.

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