How to make GLAIR for Calligraphers, Illuminators, Artists

Until the 14th century, manuscript miniatures were painted mainly using glair, made from egg white. It was used as a glossing or waterproofing agent in the paints. In my calligraphy studio, I use glair to reconstitute Cennini Gesso, to dilute Liquid Gesso (J. Tresser’s), and as a binder for gouache or powdered pigment.

RECIPE: 

  1. Crack eggs (4), strain off white by toggling yoke between shell halves leaving whites in mixing bowl
  2. Put yolks in a separate bowl, set aside for some other use. 
  3. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks – like a merengue. 
  4. Tip mixing bowl on its side and let drip into another bowl overnight – (or let it settle in original bowl).
  5. Pitch foam and reserve liquid. 
  6. After about 12 hours, strain (get rid of unwanted stringiness.)
  7. It can be used 2 ways. Try both!
    1. Full Strength
    2. Dilute with glair/water > 50/50 

8.    Save capped for 1-2+ yrs (stays clear). Date the container. Restrain after it sits for awhile

     TIPS:   • Stinky if stored room temperature. That’s okay. Traditionally called ‘la putrido’.

    • Preserve in refrigerator or out. (lasts longer in the frig).

    • For certain gilding purposes, glair must be aged. As glair ages, it becomes an adhesive.

    • Glair becomes waterproof in 24 hours

Beat eggs whites to stiff peaks
Stiff enough that it holds it’s shape
I get an 8 cup Pyrex measuring container and tilt my Kitchen Aid mixing bowl on it’s side. Allow it to sit there overnight. It will ‘weep’ into the glass bowl. That is your glair.

ADD GLAIR TO:

Titanium Dioxide Liquid Gesso – 1-2 drops should do it, but you can thin liquid gesso with glair to the consistency needed. Fresh glair is fine.

Cennini Gesso – Holly’s measurement to reconstitute powder > 1/8 tsp powdered gesso to 15 drops glair.  6-9 month (aged) glair is best for this recipe.

Dried Pigment or Gouache– Add 1-2 drops full strength or diluted to dry pigment or gouache. Clove oil or honey can be added to make colors richer/shinier.

**Glair, a natural product can be added to a variety of art mediums

Gold Leaf Workshop

Hello all of you Gold Leaf lovers!  I’m presenting a 1-day GOLD methods workshop on November 20, 2021. ONLINE. 10am-5pm EST. Sponsored by the Ocala Calligraphy Guild in Florida.  Their website is www.OcalaCalligraphy.org and you can head on over to their Workshops section to download the official flyer https://www.ocalacalligraphy.org/workshops as well as making payment there. There is a ‘page 2’ to the first page that I’m posting below – with more description and a supply list. We would love to have you join us. The workshop focuses on pre-made sizes such as Liquid Gesso, Instacoll, Illuminators Bole, Gum Ammoniac plus more, with Patent Gold. Some methods are optional, if you don’t want to buy all. Feel free to contact me www.HollyMonroe.com or the Ocala Guild for more information. If you are interested, you may want to jump on board quickly and get your supplies lined up. For this low price, you will get a boatload of information! This is designed for Beginner/Intermediate, but anyone can join in. Calligraphers, Lettering Artists, Artists, Crafters…

You will need to make Glair for this workshop, as well – I have easy instructions. Look for it as I will be posting a little video of how I make it. See my next Blog.

NOTE: The website for the Ocala Calligraphy Guild is wrong on this flyer, but correct in my text above.

Calligraphy Cruise February 2016 to the Western Caribbean

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Come join me and others as we sail to the Caribbean for fun, sun and to enhance your calligraphy repertoire of skills. Calligraphers and NON-Calligraphers, all welcome -Friends and Relatives, spouses and significant others. We are changing cruise lines this time to Royal Caribbean as Holland America sold out the route and week we initially chose. Details are on my flyer above, which can currently be seen on my FB page and in the SHOP on my website. Correct information will soon appear on my CLASSES section. The wrong date is on my Home page and will be corrected. The correct sailing dates are February 20-27, 2016.

                              $100 deposit will hold your place in the class.                             Book early for best cabin selection.

Calligraphy in California!

September 2014 – I continued my summer fun by heading out to teach in San Diego and Huntington Beach! Wendy Watson-Diedrick worked her little fingers to the bone arranging a fabulous line up of classes for me to teach as well as a talented group of people to study with. She also opened her home to me and drove me to Huntington Beach. Gracias! As you can see from the picture below, the San Diego crowd was a large one. Thank you to Terry Bajo for taking over the workshop duties, and to Victoria Kibildis for hostessing me at Wendy’s house, when Wendy had a family wedding conflict. A big thank you to Linda Mirth who orchestrated the Huntington Beach class…found the venue, rounded up the students, the housing and fixed a delightful lunch for Wendy and me at her home.

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Back to San Diego. What you can’t see is that we started on a Friday afternoon with a 10 person “Business of Calligraphy” seminar. Topics in the session ranged from copyright, to workshops and retreats, taking the orders, pricing and scheduling our day. We all grew by sharing our insight and expertise.

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Friday evening, the guild hosted my “Calligraphy Today” digital presentation to a group of about 25. I walk you through my personal calligraphic background along with pictures of my studio, my father’s and mother’s work and later, I promote colleagues of mine, by showing select pieces of their work with different applications….lettering on glass, clay, tables, walls, violin, logos, greeting cards, books, etc. The lettering arts are still alive and well in this current day and age. Nothing can replace the human artistic touch!

PastedGraphic-1The weekend’s 2-day workshop was my popular Fantastic Flourishes class. Students learn the basics of flourishing on Saturday and then create a circle or a spiral, interlocking the flourishes on Sunday. What seemed to help most was, thinking-out-loud as I penciled in the flourishes on a circular design. I walked away without calligraphy pictures from this class (so San Diego…send examples to me when you can!)

IMG_2877Above, hostess Victoria introducing me to a San Diego beach! Glorious! Below is her penciled spiral complete with interlocking flourishes. Great job Victoria….now to finish!

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Monday, Wendy and I drove up the coast to Huntington Beach, where we met with Linda Mirth, who graciously orchestrated the evening Decorated Letters classes there. It was hot, hot, hot! Still there was a wonderful attendance of about 18 students, putting their hand to creating beautiful letters. Here are a few…..first, Wendy’s decorated S with Seashells…..IMG_2986A very clever shoe makes the crossbar of a G, representing a family’s initial and interests…I need the name of the talented designer!! One of their exercises was to illustrate the letter.

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Nancy Kazanjian created this lovely “H” below….she is planning on adding another ‘musical’ layer to her creation. This exercise was exaggerating a part of the letter.

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Below, Carole Johnson created this flourished “B” combining a more Fraktur looking B with flourishing….

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Stephanie Chao worked through the exercise of decorating “on” and “in” the letter. There were more, but these are a few of those who created the letters in about 5 hours or less.

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And below is Stephanie, Carolyn, Chris and Wendy smiling in the front. Here we were in Huntington Beach. Thanks to all of them for a wonderful California calligraphy experience!

IMG_2981IMG_2876IMG_2980At the front table, Sandy and _________. Back from L to R, Linda Mirth, ______ and ______

 

Calligraphy Cruise Alaska 2014 – A good time was had by all!

This June 21-28, 2014 we took our calligraphy pens and brushes onto Holland America’s msWesterdam and journeyed to Alaska’s inner passageway. What a treat to enjoy our artistic endeavors in the lap of luxury! Holly taught Flourished Italic while Gary Lord taught Decorative Painting on Glass. Students combined the two skills in their final projects. Come take a peek – I’ll share a few pictures with you! Get on my email list if you would like to join me on a future cruise adventure!

Marilyn Dietrich, Maria Medeles and Holly Monroe about to board msWesterdam

Marilyn Dietrich, Maria Medeles and Holly Monroe about to board msWesterdam

CruiseTitleLogoNODATEThursday, before our Saturday sail away, we met at a downtown Seattle hotel and enjoyed some time getting to know each other. There were 22 total in our group this year! Friends, Debbie and Ray Story (top right in photo) surprised me at the hotel, I had no idea they were coming. All the way from Tennessee! Others were from CO, OH, IN, TX, and CA.

Gathering at hotel in Seattle

Gathering at hotel in Seattle

Thursday evening, we ate at The Purple, Seattle. Friday, many went on the 3 hour tour of the city, while others went off on their own.

Waterfall park  in downtown Seattle. Peggy Whalen (travel agent), Holly Monroe (instructor), Maria Medeles, Debbie Story)

Waterfall park in downtown Seattle. Peggy Whalen (travel agent), Holly Monroe (instructor), Maria Medeles, Debbie Story

Chihuly's Glass and Gardens

Chihuly’s Glass and Gardens

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Friday evening, we gathered at Salty’s and enjoyed the view of the harbor and mountains.

Browns, Judys and Marianne Lord at Salty's

Browns, Judys and Marianne Lord at Salty’s

Ray Story enjoying a lobster at Salty’s, Seattle

Holly at Pike Street Market

Holly at Pike Street Market….original Starbucks after a power walk through town.

Saturday morning, we boarded the ship for our week long adventure!

Flowers on msWesterdam

Flowers on msWesterdam

Our calligraphy/decorative painting class was a serious 20 hour focus. Weather this week was a little cloudy and chilly, was a perfect excuse to be creative! The classroom, lined with windows allowed us to view the Alaskan landscapes as we worked.  Here is Gary Lord showing Marilyn a painting technique.

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One half of the classroom! The windows in the room gave us a perfect view of the scenery.DSCN2132Holland America provided us a beautiful classroom for the week. All of our supplies could be left there nightly. Daily, they provided us with coffee, tea and cookies. There was a Chocolate Beverage bar out the back door! Those of us who signed up early for the cruise had a $50 per day credit for beverages of any type! We were well hydrated!
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As promised, everyone was able to enjoy all of the towns and excursions as the ship docked. Our first town was Juneau, Alaska where many went whale watching and hiked to  the Mendenhall Glacier.

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Totem Pole trail in Sitka

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Here we are on the ship’s deck checking out Glacier Bay….

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This was out of the Lido window as we overlooked the Ketchikan skyline. Can you see the sea plane landing? Such a beautiful sunny day….

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And then there was an evening in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia. Took a water taxi over to the main part of town! Such fun….

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So many amenities on the ship…from fine dining every evening

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…to formal nights and amazing entertainment….from Dancing with the Stars, music (Recycled Percussion) and comedy

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I have so many pictures, it was hard to decide which to share. Ask me to see others!  I’ll close with our fabulous group of travelers on a formal night. (Missing are Abbey and Wayne Hutchison – they did not jump ship! 🙂

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