Florenceart.net - Art Immersion in Florence










June Master Classes 2019

Participate in this special summer program for advanced decorators

About the Special Summer Master Class Program: This is a unique occasion for experienced decorators to take part in an intensive program covering a wide range of historical decorative techniques fundamental to contemporary interior decoration work in a beautiful, inspiring environment, unhurried by the restrictions of shorter classes. Participate in a concentrated series of well organized classes and enjoy lots of individual attention from highly skilled teachers, experts in the field of decoration. This is an opportunity to take a full month to settle in and really work on your repertoire of decorative techniques while living like a Florentine, or if you can't take that much time, you can just choose the week that you want. Because the class size is limited, we can offer you the possibility to customize within your program, working on projects of your choice.


June 3-7 Chiaroscuro, Mural and Fresco Techniques
June 10-14 Decorative Painting and Furniture
June 17-21 Grottesca, Floral and Color decoration
June 24-28 Gilding Techniques

Weekly Modules: Monday to Friday


Whole Month Program 2,900.00 euros
3 week Program 2,200.00 euros
2 week program 1,600.00 euros
1 week program 800.00 euros

Fees include: scheduled courses, supervised studio sessions, extra independent studio time
Fees do not include: A personal kit of materials, (brushes and gold leaf). (A supplies list will be sent to you after registration)

Class times: 9:00am -2:00pm Monday to Friday
Studio times: 3:00pm - 6:00pm Monday to Friday
Independent studio time available evening and weekends

About the courses: These courses are an occasion for experienced decorators or craftspeople to follow a personalized curriculum to improve their skills. Daily class sessions will be taught by expert teachers. Independent sessions will be spent working on studio projects under the supervision an instructor. In addition, Extra unsupervised studio time is available weekends and evenings for those who want it. Otherwise, weekends can be spent gathering inspiration in Florence and Tuscany, or an easy train trip away in Rome or Venice. Each participant will organize their study plan with us before arriving at the studio. Below is a list of subjects available for intensive study. The program for each individual will differ slightly according to their personal choices and which modules they choose to take:

June 3-7 Chiaroscuro, Mural and Fresco Techniques: In this course we master the basics of constructing a grey scale for chiaroscuro work and learn the careful application of the tonalities to create architectural framework and ornamental freizes. This subject matter has a wide practical application; learning the basics of mixing shades and working with light and shadow can be used generally throughout any type of decorative painting. This historical technique was brought to amazing heights in Tuscany in the 18th century in particular. These same techniques have been passed down through a few generations of artisans here in Florence since then, from master to apprentice. Learn directly from the source to create these elegant 'grisailles' decorations that transform a home into a palace. After the work on Chiaroscuro techniques, students learn true fresco techniques with real lime plaster: how to make fresco plaster with lime and sand, and how to execute decorative work with compatible pigments. These techniques are useful to make high quality decorative panels or for the creation or restoration of decorative frescoes on site, indoors or outdoors. Following on from the study of this traditional medium we will briefly explore the use of commercially available decorative lime plasters and their use in creating naturally ecologically friendly wall finishes, beautiful antique patinas and lime washes. More course info

June 10-14 Decorative Hand Painting, Stencil and Furniture Decoration:
Students learn the techniques and materials used for the proper preparation of wooden objects, panels and furniture.
we will be painting on wooden panels and also preparing samples of moldings to try out various decorative techniques. The program covers the practical use and formulation of gessoes, casein, lime paints, rabbit skin glue paints, and basic mordant gilding. We will create painted panels, using hand painted decorative brushwork, stencils in combination with hand painting, shadow work, and brush shading with water based paints. For students who are interested there is the possibility of studying design of ornament, which would be applicable to the design of custom decorative panels or stencils. In conclusion we cover antiquing techniques and wax finishes for creating Italian and French style historical furniture finishes. More course info

June 17-21 Grottesca, Floral and Pattern decoration, with special Guest instructor Carolina d'Ayala Valva

Carolina is known for her beautiful hand painting and use of vibrant natural pigments. She will teach us her techniques for the practical use of egg tempera and share her extensive knowledge of decorative work as applied to walls furniture and fabrics. In this course we cover several fundamental rules in the use of color, and explore how to combine and mix colors. We will execute a panel, covering the stages of preparation, hand painted ornament and finishing. We study composition and harmony of design in ornamental decoration, the use of decorative motifs for making panel ornaments, decorative borders and all-over patterns. This course is very useful for those who would like to decorate both rooms and furniture pieces, and would like to learn about the design of ornament for specific spaces or objects. More course info

June 24-28 Gilding Techniques
In this course we start with the making of rabbit skin glue and gilder's gesso, then progress to making 'bole', also known as gilder's clay. These materials form the base for water gilding, and it is important to make them and understand their properties. We prepare panels and frames for gilding and then learn to handle and apply loose leaf gold and silver. Students become familiar with the equipment necessary for water gilding such as the gilder's tip, knife, cushion and mop. We use agate stones to burnish the leaf and then explore techniques for decorating the gilded surface such as incising and punch work (known as bulinatura). The decorative technique of 'sgraffito' is also introduced. This technique involves making egg tempera paint, applying a layer to the gilded surface and then scratching decorative motifs through the paint layer to expose the gold underneath. Toning, antiquing and finishing the gilded surface are covered on the final day. More course info

About the Teachers:

Alison Woolley owner-founder of Florenceart.net Studio-school
Alison is a professional artist and decorator, owner of Florenceart.net, a decorative arts and teaching studio in Florence, Italy. She started her career as an apprentice in a traditional Florentine ‘bottega’ decorating furniture in the Renaissance style. Over the years this specialized work blossomed into an expertise in creating luxuriously decorated surfaces of many kinds, from interior murals to fabric and package design. Today, you can see the artist's refined and meticulous hand on works such as a hand-painted harpsichord for the Opera of Versailles and scarf designs for Salvatore Ferragamo.

Carolina d'Ayala Valva
Author of the book on Grottesca ornament called Art et Techniques de la Grotesque, Carolina is a professional decorative artist based in Rome. She is originally from Udine, but when she was quite young her family moved to Brazil and she holds a degree in Architecture from her studies there. When she returned to Italy as a young adult she continued her studies in artisan craft and the conservation of cultural heritage in Venice. She and her partner Valter Cipriani, working from their atelier in Rome have completed many prestigious decoration projects and commissions over the years including hand painted decoration in historical palaces in Italy, commissioned ornament for homes in Europe and the USA, custom designs for Zuber wallpapers, and her own line of textiledesigns.  She is sought after for her engaging and caring teaching style and has taught internationally, in France, Belgium and the United States. She is a member of the international Salon of Decorative painters and her work is on permanent exhibition in the Museum of Trompe l'Oeil in Perigueux (France)

Marco Cavallini
Our well known expert in illusionistic wall decoration, fresco and antique painting techniques. Marco was a teacher at the State Institute of Art at Porta Romana in Florence, and at the University of Florence in the department of the History of Architecture. He is the author of several books and manuals. His most recent publication is a manual on 'Quadraturismo'- architectural illusionistic painting.

Instruction is available in English and Italian

We are happy pass on recommendations from our students for small hotels and Bed and Breakfast accommodations in downtown Florence. Please contact the studio for a list.

Spaces are limited to 10 students at one time, places will be assigned on a first come first served basis with priority given to students who have studied with the Florenceart.net studio in the past.

Deadline for application::
May 2, 2019

How to apply:
Please send your request by email to the studio.
A deposit 30 percent will be required at the time of registration
contact the studio by e-mail

Please note:  Students must ensure that they have all necessary visa and health insurance for their stay.

Our studio in Florence:
Via della Scala 11 (near Piazza Santa Maria Novella)
50123 Firenze


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