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Creative plastering & colour design course in Kassel, Germany

This advanced and specialised clay rendering, colour design and surface treatment course was run by Manfred Fahnert, a well known expert in his field in Germany. A carpenter by trade, Manfred is an artist when it comes to clay, lime, colours, special surface effects and creative ornaments. The four day course was run at the University in Kassel and provided a chance to see some experimental loadbearing strawbale buildings with grass roofs at the same time.
Topics and practicals covered included the Italian lime plaster Stukkolustro, the Moroccan glossy lime plaster Tadelakt, traditional Japanese clay and lime render surfaces, decorative surface effects and Lazure painting techniques. Most of these techniques need hours of experience for perfection and are quite labour, therefore cost intensive. However, the effects and characteristics achieved by them can far outweigh time and money concerns.
Tadelakt and Stukkolustro techniques provide waterproof surfaces without using chemicals or destroying the vapour permeability of clay and lime. The glossy surfaces of Tadelakt & Stukkolustro are achieved by mixing a special soap into the final coat of the lime plaster. This final coat is worked into the wall, using a granite stone to compact the surface as much as possible. The result is a glossy waterproof surface shimmering in many colours, quite unlike any other plaster finish we have arrived at before.

Preparing for Tadelakt


Traditional Japanese finishes were achieved by using different rendering tools to apply the finish coat. About 300 different trowels can be used to create as many different surfaces. Effects range from rough and textured to a very smooth wall finish. Other decorative surface effects were achieved by adding gold or silver dust, colourful pebbles or similar to the last plaster application. These additives are then brought back to the surface using sponges or brushes to partly liberate them from the plaster. The protruding or visible additives bring texture, colour, shimmer and three dimensional effects to the wall.

  • Brushed special effects with pebbles
  • Pigment coloured lime render with japanese finish
  • Red & black lime plaster over white base applied with japanese trowel
  • Silver dust over pigmented clay

Lazure painting is a technique where natural, tinted translucent glazes are applied over walls coated with a natural white paint. Many layers of colours built up to create a translucent and visually textural wall finish. The paint base and glazes are made of all natural components such as beeswax, casein, tree resins and essential plant oils. Below is an example of Lazure Paint ? Balloons.

  • Applying layers of lazure paint

  • Brushed lazure finish

  • Lazure finish with leaf pattern