Sign & Digital Graphics

November '15

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • November 2015 • 81 MASTER'S TOUCH What We Do is Secret Young sign makers take on classic styles I n the beginning there was the golden light that shined from the pure element of 24 carat gold. When it was first thinned into sheets and applied to glass by the Egyptians, it resulted in beautiful mir- rors. Since that time, reverse-glass gilding evolved into magnificent Victorian commercial signage. It became a tasteful advertising tool to promote booze, smokes and jewelry as well as bestowing prestige upon law and banking firms. In the 20th century, the time-consuming processes gave way to crass but profitable plastic signs, which were illuminated so they could be viewed from gas-powered vehicles at great distances. Gilding is hard work and can be challenging to sell to price-conscious clients, but just as some of the tradition of gilding began to die out, there was a resur- gence of love and appreciation for the craft that in the 1970s was spearheaded by individuals in Colorado calling themselves "Letterheads." And from that move- ment there emerged a singularly passionate individual known as Rick Glawson, who sought to revive all of the lapsed and forgotten techniques relating to gilded decoration. Daddy Fine Gold's commitment to the craft stim- ulated a new vitality for this work, which flowered during his legendary California Conclave Letterhead meetings held at his amazing Esoteric Sign Supply store. After Rick died, suddenly there was a tradition that lived on through memorial gatherings dedicated to the revival work that was his specialty. One such occasion is the Dead Man Letterhead Meet held at the End of the Line in the Town of Machine (not far from Hayward, California) that is hosted by one of Glawson's most accomplished stu- dents, the eccentric Larry White, aka William Blake, Steven Vigeant owns Berkeley Signs, a commercial sign company serving the San Francisco Bay Area since 1985. Visit his website at or contact him at B y S T E V E N V I G E A N T Looking for Trouble Ken Davis' "What We Do is Secret." Larry White's rendering of the 30th year tribute to Rick Glawson's California Conclave Letterhead meet.

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