Michou Osterwald says of her work;- “By chance I learned the art of water-gilding over fifteen years from one of my best friends in Germany. Gold and silver are precious and the process of water-gilding is so precise and complex that gilding has historically been reserved for formal or grand contexts, such as churches, palaces, expensive frames for valuable paintings etc. I have broken away from this concept by adorning simply carved, raw, jacaranda, teak and wild olive wooden vessels with the same elaborate gilded process. The bowls in themselves are precious; they are part of our African culture.
I use various precious metals; 23.75 carat gold leaf, red gold, platinum-gold, genuine silver leaf, and green golds made up of special alloys. I employ the ancient Egyptian water-gilding method of a gesso base; bole underground; shot with precious leaf and burnished to a high polish.
Each bowl is unique. Each piece requires many hours of labour. There are no shortcuts in water-gilding. The gold and silver I use is molten, milled, beaten and hand-lifted into booklets, leaf for leaf at 0.000125mm thinness, just as it has been done for thousands of years. I procure my tools and all the different golds and the silver I use from Germany. My bowls have no function other than to please the eye. In their imperfection lies their beauty.”