Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Gold Leaf workshop with Ken Soderbeck

A couple of years ago I had the good fortune to take a workshop on Gold-Leaf scroll work and creating water transfer decals that were used to decorate antique fire apparatus. A dear friend of mine surprised me with an offer to send me down and learn a skill that is quickly fading into the past. The class was taught by a fellow named Ken Soderbeck,  located in Jackson, Michigan, just outside of Detroit. This was the second and final workshop that he gave. I went down a couple of days early so I could spend some time with him before the class started. From the moment I walked into his studio, I was aw-struck. In front of me was so much eye candy, I had a hard time taking it all in. I was absolutely speechless, which is rare for me. Ken was a wonderful soul and was very open to sharing his knowledge. After a brief introduction, he offered me a chicken sandwich, and we sat and talked for the rest of the afternoon. As it turned out, Ken had been a sign painter before becoming involved in restoration work. This didn't just include the scroll and pinstripe work, but the entire restoration from ground up. I had never seen anything like it before. The detail that companies would put into their equipment was stunning. The workshop was a wonderful experience, and I had the good fortune to meet people from across the states. I was the only Canadian to take part in the class, so I was named the one that traveled the greatest distance in the class. Ken suffered a major loss last year when his studio burnt down, taking most of his collection with it. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the things he lost, can never be replaced. He has since re-built and is being creative as ever. I thought I would share some photos that show Ken's work / pieces from his collection and his studio. If you get a chance, check out some of his work at  http://www.firegold.com/soderbeck.htm. The site actually belongs to a fellow named Peter Achorn, who dedicated a page to Ken's work. Peter is also a very skilled craftsman, and has some beautiful work on his site. Take some time and check it out. Thanks for dropping by.


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