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Homes: Buck & Bear's leaf art is pure gold

Looking for something both beautiful and bespoke to give the home bird in your life this Christmas? Suffolk's Buck & Bear is the place to go

It was losing a close friend, just before he turned 30, which pushed Carlie Allan to take a leap and set up her own business. A graphic designer by training, she decided to launch Buck & Bear - producing exquisite gilded signs - in the run-up to her own milestone birthday last year. “My friend’s name was Bertie Buck, so the Buck in the name is for him,” explains Carlie, who paired it with her dog’s name, Bear. “Bertie passing away just before his 30th spurred me on to do something a bit bigger in life as I turned 30 myself.

“So I learnt how to do reverse glass gilding: a really old traditional skill, which involves signwriting too, it’s also known as verre eglomise and is now on the endangered crafts list.”

Applying 23.5 carat gold leaf to the back of sheet glass using a water size, doubling up the layers for depth of colour and shine, Carlie then handpaints letters over the leaf, writing in reverse, before wiping away the excess gold once the paint is dry - which can take up to 16 hours.

A painstaking process, she finishes the signs with “shadows and outlines to the letters and even abalone shell, to create truly bespoke pieces of wall art. I show a lot of behind-the-scenes videos on my Instagram so customers can see how they are individually made.”

Offering a completely bespoke service - “I get approached a lot by clients with their own idea, which I then help bring to life” - Carlie creates digital mock-ups for her customers before putting gold to glass. Based on the Suffolk/Cambridgeshire border, she can supply her signs framed or unframed with wall brackets and sends them all over the country.

For more information visit buckandbear.co.uk and follow @bucknbeardesign on Instagram.

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