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Visiting Gold Leaf Studios

Gold Leaf Studios

Yesterday, we took a trip to Gold Leaf Studios to see the workshop firsthand — a veritable theme park of frames and framing history located in Dupont Circle.

Gold Leaf is the studio and workshop of Bill Adair, a master framer, gilder, and frame conservator and historian:

Bill Adair (courtesy Gold Leaf Studios)
Bill Adair (courtesy Gold Leaf Studios)

This November, Adair is partnering with The Art League for two projects. First, he’s curating an exhibit on framing and art history in the 19th and 20th century, “Artistic Vision: Redefining the Picture Frame.” And on November 13, he’ll be teaching a workshop on Sgraffito and Granito, two traditional techniques for decorating frames. That workshop will take place onsite at Gold Leaf.

The Gold Leaf Studios building was a carriage house in a former life. Once we arrived, we went upstairs, bypassing the workshop on the first floor. But of course, we still snuck a peek on the way out:

Gold Leaf Studios

Upstairs in the galleries, every wall was filled with examples of frames. And when we say filled, we mean it.


That painting on the left, by the way, is by Abbott Thayer — the painter, teacher, and father of camouflage — and will be in November’s frame exhibit.

There are lots of goodies to take in at this studio, but we’ll share with you just one more of our favorites: this 15th-century Italian frame that shows off some sgraffito stars:

Gold Leaf Studios

To read more about this frame and see some student work from past Sgraffito/Granito workshops, read Bill Adair’s article in Picture Framing Magazine here.


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Did you know: The Art League's Art Camp is the longest running visual arts camp in the area! We've been here for more than 30 years! While sadly we can't find any photos from the '80s (please let us know if you have any lying around), let's take a look back at the last several years of burgeoning kid artists and eight years of fun at Art Camp!

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