We would like to thank Urban Billmeier, Jill London, Peter Miller, John Nelson and Madilynn Nelson, who left the board this year after long and faithful service.
Naomi Geller Lipsky - President
Naomi Geller Lipsky received her PhD in Biochemistry from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and enjoyed a satisfying career in research for many years. At the same time, she continued to develop her skills in the fine and decorative arts. When these latter interests finally became more compelling, she made the decision to retire from science and become a full-time decorative artist. She is best known for her quilling, an antique art in which paper strips are rolled, shaped and formed into images. She incorporates gilding into her work wherever possible! Naomi is also accomplished in collage, faux finishes, and gouache, and does all her own matting and framing. Her award-winning work has been exhibited in a variety of museums and galleries, and published in books, magazines and calendars, and she gives quilling classes to all age groups. She is a graduate of the Master Seamstress program at the URI, and has also taught home decor sewing. Before becoming President of the SOG, she served for eight years as its Treasurer. Her work can be seen at www.lipskyart.com.
Elisabeth Caron - Vice President
Elisabeth Caron turned to gilding in 2010 after a career first as an educator (she taught all things French, esp. the literature of the 15th and 16th centuries), then as a translator and manuscript editor (she still does too much of that). Her first mentor was the Paris gilder Bruno Toupry, a partner in the City of Paris restoration and gilding programs and an impressively creative artist besides. She also learned a great deal from SOG instructors, whose techniques she found to be at times different from those used in Europe yet just as sound. A freelance gilder working alone, Elisabeth buys damaged antique frames at auctions in France and restores and regilds them in Chicago. Her preference goes to 18th-century mirror frames.
Jean Spencer- Secretary
As a child Jean Spencer was hooked on painting when she received a paint-by-number set (hated the picture, loved the paints), and on gilding while studying illuminated manuscripts in an art history class. She has had an independent restoration studio since 1986, working primarily on paintings, gilded frames and other painted and gilded objects for art and antiques dealers. She enjoys dark chocolate (with or without gold flakes).
Jorge Jimenez - Treasurer
Jorge Jimenez is a Los Angeles, California-based painting and wood finishing contractor whose company Jimenez Custom Painting Inc. serves the high end residential market, providing quality painting services and fine wood finishing for architects, home builders, interior designers and homeowners in Southern California’s most exclusive communities. Jorge, his brothers and crew members are skilled and accomplished in fine architectural wood finishing, decorative plastering, architectural gilding, faux finishing, furniture finishing, furniture gilding and polished lacquer finishes. Jorge is especially fond of the gilding arts and is committed to the SOG mission of preserving the traditional gilding skills and techniques for future generations.
Micki Cavanah is the owner of Reed's Gold Leaf Studios in Nashville TN. The company was founded by her mother Lou Reed in 1972 at a time when there was very limited sharing of information in the field. She passed along her knowledge and expertise to many students along the way as well as Micki and her husband Mitchell who now continue to provide the gilding and restoration services to their clients all around the southeast. Micki teaches one-on-one classes by appointment only. Reed's Gold Leaf Studios offers gilding and restoration services, hand-made gilded frames as well as offering products for gilding and restoration. Their work can be seen all around the Southeastern United States in various galleries, museums, historic homes, universities and private collections. Included in their work are Athena Parthenos and The Schermerhorn Symphony Center, both in Nashville TN.
Colleen Donaldson established her gilding studio in the United Kingdom in 1997 following a seven-year training. Primarily trained as a furniture conservator and as an intern with Scottish National Museums and Galleries, she has worked extensively on national collections. Her client base ranges from the Royal Collections to the National Trust, and various members of the aristocracy.
New Orleans native Diane, of Diane Killeen Painting Studios, provides decorative restoration and artistic finishes in both historic and contemporary settings. Since 2000, she has worked on projects in the greater New Orleans area and the Southeast painting for her own clientele. Local restorations include the ceiling murals at Latter Library, the decorative plaster at the Roosevelt Hotel, gilded frames for The Historic New Orleans Collection, and all of the decorative restoration at the Robinson-Jordan House. Also, as a project manager for International Fine Arts Conservation Studios, she has traveled extensively restoring sites on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2009, she was the recipient of the Prince of Wales Foundation's educational grant at the Ogden Museum in New Orleans. Diane’s specialties include decorative faux finishes, traditional water gilding, Venetian plaster, custom stenciling, murals, decorative plaster restoration, sculpture and historic color analysis. A graduate from Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia with degrees in both studio art and psychology, Diane has since pursued a graduate certification in decorative painting and restoration through the City and Guilds of London's North American Program, a fellowship program with the historic Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.
Michael Kramer - Past President
Michael Kramer is the founder and president of The Gilders' Studio, Inc., an award-winning firm with prestigious projects across the United States and overseas. Formed in 1985, the studio works on monumental sculpture, state capitols, government buildings, churches and private homes. These include the redecoration of the Great Cupola of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the gilding restoration at Lincoln Tomb Historic Site, gilding at the Library of Congress, the exterior gilding restoration of the Georgia State Capitol and the gilding conservation in the Washington Monument. Listed in Who's Who in American Art, Michael is a member of American Institute for Conservation and Association for Preservation Technology. Since 1987 he has taught gilding and decorative painting at the Smithsonian, for the Society of Gilders and other venues. He has also written several articles on gilding and related fields, which have been published in Traditional Building Magazine and other periodicals. His chapter titled "Exterior Architectural Gilding" features in the book, Gilded Metals: History, Conservation and Technology from Archetype Press.
Annie started playing around with gold leaf when she was a teenager, trying to figure out, on her own, how water-gilding worked. She received formal fine arts training at the Maryland Institute College of Art, funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation. She has worked as a museum archivist (works on paper), paper conservator, frame shop manager, museum exhibit designer and graphic designer. In 1988, Annie began providing high-end decorative design and decoration to designers and architects in the metro Washington D.C. region, as Main Street Arts LLC. A lifetime of living in old and historic buildings brought about an extension of the business to restoration and conservation of painted and gilded surfaces, with clients including the National Park Service and several National Trust for Historic Preservation properties. Annie now works mostly in her studio doing design work and restoration work on frames, furniture and architectural elements. She also teaches gilding specialty finishing classes through IDAL and independently in her studio. She is a former board member of the International Decorative Artisans League (IDAL) and a former president of Habitat for Humanity of Washington County (Maryland).
Kate Brown - Education Chair
Kate Brown is an East Coast-born Los Angeles-based gilder. She learned from stellar Society of Gilders teachers. Until recently, she was in-house gilder at the Ota House frame shop in Los Angeles, serving museums, collectors, and artists, and working in close collaboration with conservators. She is now the owner of an independent gilding practice, Gilded Objects. Kate is also a filmmaker, artist, and curator. She is very happy to be a part of the S.O.G. As Education Chair Kate welcomes teachers and students, current and future, to be in touch. To see samples of her gilding work, visit her website:www.cargocollective.com/gildedobjects, or instagram: @gildedobjects. To see work in other media, see:www.808re.tumblr.com.
Barrie Lynn Bryant
Barrie began designing and making picture frames for his wife's artworks in 1995 as a means to save money. When he discovered gilding in 1999, he broke open his piggy bank, spent all his savings on karat gold leaf and began gilding some of the frames for her art on his own. He has since shared much glory for this work by winning more than a hundred cash awards in juried art shows throughout the USA, winning two Individual Artist Professional Development Grants from Wyoming Arts Council for gilding, and maintained a rigorous and diverse exhibition, touring and events schedule. He lives and works in Kirby, Wyoming. Find out more about Barrie at his WEBSITE, his more visual than verbal BLOG, and on LINKEDIN.
Dan's biography coming soon.
Leah Beth Fishman
Trained by master gilders of world renown, Leah Beth Fishman’s work can be seen on two covers of Architectural Digest, in the Oval Office, Rockefeller Plaza, churches, businesses and residences across the globe. Past projects have included everything from tops of skyscrapers to door and window signage, traditional gilded frames and restorations, ceilings, molding, lighting fixtures, furniture, guitar and automotive detailing and much more. She creates hand made mirrors and decorative gilded glass/verre églomisé artwork on a large and small scale including pieces on hand for sale as well as individual commissions. For the full scope of work please see www.leahbethfishman.com.
Michael Gilbert is a gilder, carver, and frame maker with nearly forty years experience. The American frame designs of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are the inspiration for most of his work. Michael has been a teacher since the late 1970’s, with sixteen years at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and with the Society of Gilders since 2001.
While in elementary school in Queens, NY, Francis taught himself pen calligraphy and brush lettering. By the time he attended high school in Brooklyn, he had learned how to gild with genuine gold leaf and was hand lettering paper signs for storefronts and shops. After high school, Francis entered the religious teaching order of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (The De La Salle Christian Brothers) where he received degrees in physics from The Catholic University of America and under a National Science Foundation Fellowship from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Later, he taught physics, chemistry, mathematics, and theology at high schools in Rhode Island, Brooklyn, Long Island, and Queens where he developed physics graphics and demonstrations for use on overhead projectors. Harvard University noted this work and invited Francis to design transparency graphics for a high school physics course, Harvard Project Physics, it was developing for the National Science Foundation. Eventually, he designed six volumes of physics graphics that were used in classrooms throughout the country. After Francis left the Order, he earned a PhD on a US Office of Education Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He then taught physics and history of science at the State University College at Buffalo where he continued designing graphics, now in relativity and astronomy, and branched out into computer animation and filmmaking. Several of his short films on the Periodic Table and on Hiroshima received national and international awards. The State University of New York honored Francis with the President’s and the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 1994, Francis started Signs of Gold, Inc. with his master woodworker son Stephen. As a “recovering college professor,” Francis has garnered ten First Place Awards from the USSC Sign Design Competition and the International Sign Association. He has published over 18 articles on carving, gilding, and his hand crafted techniques in five North American sign industry journals. Francis's lifelong intrigue with calligraphy and lettering as artform has led him to design five original digital typeface fonts which are commercially available on the Web.
Bill Little - Archivist
Bill's biography coming soon.