Huddersfield-based artist Puy Soden is offering an exciting workshop which will enable you to experience one of the oldest and richest methods in the history of painting: ‘buon’ fresco. A famous example of this method is the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512. After a lot of careful testing, Puy has developed the 'buon' fresco method to work on small tiles so you can enjoy this ancient process in an accessible, manageable way, and make durable, unique artworks for your home and garden.
“What will I make?”
Puy invites you to make your own unique, colourful frescoes on four 10cm x 10cm tiles by following detailed, step-by-step guidance.* Suitable for any level, this hands-on workshop using specialist materials provides a balance of structured, guided learning and individual experimentation. Puy's aim is that participants enjoy a sense of mindful immersion while focusing on the materials and the process. Participants find that the four 10cm x 10cm tiles are the right size and quantity for this half-day workshop.
“What is ‘buon’ fresco?”
Meaning ‘true’ fresco, ‘buon’ fresco is the method of applying pigments dispersed in water onto wet plaster, the ‘intonaco’, to create durable paintings on walls and ceilings. This differs from fresco ‘a secco’, ‘dry’ fresco, which is the method of applying pigments mixed with a binder to dry plaster.
Traditionally, the buon fresco artist prepares the wall or ceiling with three or more layers of plaster, made with varying ratios of slaked lime putty and aggregate such as fine sand. The paint is applied to the intonaco, the final, smoothest and thinnest layer of plaster that contains less sand than the penultimate, coarser layer, the ‘arriccio’. Puy has worked out the best formula of intonaco for your tiles, and you will be using a combination of marble dust and fine sand.
When the artist paints on the wet buon fresco surface, the pigment particles, carried in water, are locked into the intonaco as it dries. During the chemical process of the slaked lime reacting with the air, the pigments become embedded in a stone-like surface and therefore the artist’s marks become a physical part of the painting-object.
The durability of buon fresco is evidenced in the earliest known examples of the method, made by the Minoans of Bronze Age Crete around 2000 BCE. Imagery depicting Minoan culture, belief systems and their connection with nature has been very-well preserved within the intonaco surface that once covered palace walls and ceilings.
Using the same method and similar materials that artists have used for centuries, Puy will help you to create unique, interesting fresco artworks without having to re-plaster your walls or ceiling.
“How will the workshop run?”
The start time is flexible and will be agreed beforehand. The duration is 3 hrs 30 minutes and here is how a morning workshop would run:
09:30-09:45 – welcome, coffee/tea, introductions
09:45-10:45 – preparing the intonaco, applying it to the tiles*
10:45-11:15 – coffee/tea and flapjack
11:15-11:30 – mixing pigments, testing brushes, trying ideas
11:30-12:45 – fresco painting
12:45-13:00 – preparing your frescoes for travel, departure
*Participants are invited to make four fresco paintings on 10cm x 10cm tiles. Although this tried-and-tested tile size and quantity works for most, there will be 15.5cm x 15.5cm tiles available for those who feel they can manage the larger size having experienced applying the intonaco on the four smaller tiles.
COVID-19 distancing and sanitisation procedures in place. Four participants maximum.
Cancellation and a full refund can be obtained up to 4 weeks before the course starts. Start dates may be amended on request.
- the tiles
- hanging fixtures for you to attach later
- specialist, artisan materials required for making the intonaco
- the pigments
- safety equipment including goggles, gloves and dust masks (please bring your own face mask in addition)
- tools including brushes, palettes and trowels
There will also be plenty of homemade flapjack (dairy-free and with no added sugar), various teas and filter coffee including decaffeinated options, plus dairy and non-dairy milks.
Please bring an old apron or over-shirt as well as a face mask.
3½ hours (flexible times to suit)
This craft course provider has been awarded Bronze status for receiving 1 or more 5 star ratings from previous students.
The Students' Choice award ensures that course providers get recognised for their efforts in the teaching and practice of UK craft.
They also allow tutors to gain valuable feedback on their courses and for new students to find the course that's right for them.
3½ hours (flexible times to suit)
Interesting, relaxing and fun.
I really enjoyed this workshop. It was fascinating to learn about the techniques involved and the history of this medium, but most of all it was great to get stuck in and have a go.
Puy is very likeable and she did a great job of helping us to relax and explore our creativity. I loved her hands-on approach. Rather than fixating on the end result, like most artists, she showed us how important it is to be in the moment and to fully enjoy the artistic process in your own way. I found this to be a very mindful approach to art that was also really enjoyable.
Response from Soden Arts:Hi Boo. I am very grateful for your review and positive feedback, thank you. My goal is to enable more people to enjoy process-focused, materials-led art-making, and the way you enjoyed immersion in your own creative process is what it's all about! I felt honoured to enable your experimentation with the specialist materials and I'm really glad you had a rewarding, enjoyable experience. Thank you again. Puy
What a great way to spend a morning! I always say I’m not a creative person, but this workshop had me completely absorbed. Puy is so positive and encouraging - she gives you confidence to experiment, even when you’re out of your comfort zone. Plus, it was a lot of fun. I’ll definitely be recommending it to my arty and non-arty friends.
Response from Soden Arts:Hi Ruth,