Air lime has long been used for decorative purposes, trompe l’oeil architectural features, ersatz materials, etc. Here, Christine Biard-Feltre applies traditional techniques to deliver an original and high-impact contemporary creation. Be inspired (by materials)!
Interview with Christine Biard-Feltre on 8 May 2019: BCB Tradical®
Context: We met up with Christine in a two-storey 1930s house in the Haut-Doubs department in France. The interview took place in a cosy ground-floor room.
BCB: What was your source of inspiration?
Christine Biard-Feltre: The project owner wanted to base this creation on a painting by a local artist, which was to be adapted to the area to be decorated.
BCB: Could you explain the concept behind this air lime decoration?
CBF: It’s a decoration based on the idea of layers, using the wooden panelling as a visual starting point. The colour of the panelling is dark, and is also used on the window and door frames, making the openings part of the creation too.
BCB: Would it be right to say that each individual layer seems quite complex?
CBF: Yes, in the sense that each one is made up of several hues. But on another level, there’s also an interplay between transparency and opacity. This gives an additional opaque-to-transparent effect, running from the first stratum just above the wooden panelling to the lightest part of the decoration at the top.
At the bottom, the waxed stucco gives a bold colour, whereas towards the top, a lighter effect is produced using limewash, patina, glazes, etc.
‘This decoration showcases all the lime-based techniques’
BCB: What was your method for the actual decoration work?
CBF: I worked wall by wall. First I prepared all the colours, with enough of each for the whole surface area to be decorated. This was to ensure overall coherence for each phase.
There were at least ten different colours over the initial primer coat, not to mention the altering effects of materials and density.
And for the third and lightest surface area, from 1.5 metres high, I also created an arrangement of very blurred layers, ranging from brown to beige and textured using sands. I then covered the whole work with a patina, varying slightly in transparency, to allow alternating hues of colour to come through.
After that, I applied a polychrome separation between the three decorative areas to highlight the character of each one
BCB: How can you keep preparations simple for this type of creation?
CBF: All the colours were made using air lime (Tradical® H98) as a base product to which I then added sands, pigments, casein, etc. This provided me with a single medium to ensure consistency in terms of materials and in terms of drying time (overnight drying between each phase). In the end, despite the aesthetic scope and thus the need for several applications, the decor work only took five days. The whole job, including painting the woodwork, took ten days.
BCB: The final effect is that the walls take on the look of a painting!
CBF: Yes, it provides all the decor you need. We are in the lounge and very few additional furnishings are necessary, just a screen and two or three objets d’art. The overall composition is perfect for the project owner who, as an organ and harpsichord maker, embraces art and creation every day.
Note: Christine Biard-Feltre has a diploma from the Ecole d’Avignon and is officially qualified as a Peintre en Décor du Patrimoine (heritage painter-decorator). The nine-month course she took enabled her to gain the technical and artistic knowledge required for restoration work. The aim of the course is to familiarize students with traditional materials and their uses. Equipped with this knowledge, Christine Biard-Feltre carries out restoration and creative work on all types of substrate and adapts her skills to all pictorial styles.
Air lime project profile:
- Project owner : Private individual
- Location : Haut-Doubs, France
- Décorator : Christine Biard-Feltre | 23 rue d’Orière – 70250 Ronchamp – France | https://www.amagalerie.com/artisan/christine-biard-feltre-peintre-decor-patrimoine/
Air lime product solution
Limewash and lime patina: Tradical® H 98, which is a hydrated air lime in powder form graded as CL 90 S as per European building lime standard NF EN 459