After studying Art History and Plastic Arts, Aline Falco turned to Illumination in 2002 and opened her workshop two years later in Strasbourg.
Since 2007, she is the author of a book on Illuminations techniques, “Techniques de l’enluminure” for Ulysse Editions.Since 2010, she is a member of the Regional Federation of the Alsatian Craftsmanship (FREMAA). She also belongs to the Ateliers d’Art de France since 2011.
Fascinated by the ancient techniques and the Art Nouveau, Aline is also a globetrotter. Her unique pieces of arts find their inspiration in her journeys like Japan, Australia, India, Mexico, Morocco, Quebec, USA, Denmark, Italia, Spain, Ireland, Thailand etc…
"For more than 15 years, I designed my creation like precious and treasured jewels the future owner will be able to make his own. I love working by collection, to be able to delve into each thematic and explore every possibilities. It is also an efficient mean to propose a wide range of pieces.
The contemporaneity is not only in the blueprint but can be figurative and always undertaken.
The graphics become originals in my way to compose or to gather different periods or cultures.
I love to connect different cultures and to find the harmony illustrating the common features between civilizations.On the same creation you can find some Indian fabric patterns, some Art Nouveau ironworks, some Arabic carved wood design or some Viking jewelry!
There is no frontier any more, which is my ideal vision of the world!
My approach is very focused on symbolism. I take care to choose meaningful texts and specific characters representation. I’m familiar with oppositions such as contradictions between two periods, two technics, two symbolism, two interpretations… in complete agreement with a personal duality. Sometimes some words emphasize an idea but calligraphy is usually used as an ornamentation or a graphic design amongst unstructured elements.
Through constant questioning of the illumination form, I consider the traditional technique essential to be different from painting or illustration, which are the successors of this Art. But I want to prove you can challenge some of the codes while being faithful to the philosophy of this Art:
precision, repetition of forms, friezes and its meditative aspect."
Photos : Simon Woolf
In Medieval times, the illumination was passing through many hands: the calligrapher, the designer, the colorist, the gilder, the illuminator etc.
Nowadays, the illuminator has to master all the stages. However, it is my parchment maker who prepares the skins with several liming baths.
Once the parchment is in my hands, several steps of preparation remain to do.
Parchment is a living matter, moving and curling according temperature and moisture variations.
In the middle Ages, parchments were kept in codex, the heavy weight of the books flattening them. Currently, to be displayed, the parchment has to be stretched on a flat surface to contain it and avoid spoiling the painting and the gold. I stick it on a PH-neutral, acid-free, solvent-free, wooden cardboard.
The parchment is a very special painting surface, slick and waterproof.
Painting on it seems like painting on glass. (That’s why it is very difficult to paint faces or drapes superior to 2 or 3 cm; to smooth a gradient, you have to be extra cautious not to make a hole in the painting, digging into the lower layers).
The parchment skin is greasy. To help the painting sticking on it, you need to clean it up, degreasing it with pumice stone powder.
The gilding is a delicate and time-consuming technique, especially with raised gilding.
For raised gilding, I apply by brush several layers of gesso (plate to be gilded), according to a XIIth century recipe I manufacture with Meudon lead white, fish glue, Armenian bole and granulated sugar. Because of its thick texture, it is very difficult to paint small shapes or patterns, especially straight and smooth. When applying the gesso, the other difficulty is to avoid the formation of air bubbles which would threat the regularity of the plate. Once dried, the gesso has to be gently burnished with a dogtooth agate burnisher, then warmed again blowing through a paper tube to make it sticky to apply the gold leaf. At each layer, the gold has to be burnished to make it shinier.
A dozen layers are sometimes necessary …
For flat gilding, I use gum ammoniac, a tree resin I melt in water. I apply it by brush on the surfaces I want to gild. When it is dried, I apply the gold leaf. Unlike raised gilding, flat gilding is matt.
Coloring is a subtle and demanding stage of the process because of the difficulty to use the pigments.
Painting remains on surface and isn’t absorbed by the parchment, hence some cracks and chipping when the balance between pigments and water isn’t mastered by the illuminator.
This is one of the difficulties of this art…That’s why I created my own binder recipe to mix with the pigments and optimize their adhesion on the parchment. The medieval binding medium was made with egg yolk, Arabic gum and sometimes honey. For better adhesion, I composed my binder with ox gall, Arabic gum, honey and especially glycerin to soften the painting. Obviously, I had to understand, test and adapt the binder to adjust the dosage to the situation.
Each pigment being different due to their composition or their density, the quantity of binder has to be adapted. Sometimes, I have to settle or grind some colors. I only use natural pigments and never mix them together. In my workshop, I have approximately 85 pigments to enjoy the broadest chromatic range for stunning colors.
If I use sometimes drawing pens for some filigrees, the coloring is gently and patiently achieved by brush…
English version : Isabelle Nougier-Gallen
COURSES and TRAINING PROGRAMS
Courses are oriented to make you find out what are the subtleties of this Middle Age Art:
its gentleness, its preciseness and its colors. You can also improve some specific skills.
They are mixed classes, adapted to the potential of each one. You only need to be motivated to get initiated to this vibrant and enriching encounter between calligraphy and painting!
All Courses and training aim the Middle Age traditional graphics.
21 rue des Ormes - 67200 Strasbourg - France
Tél : 06 64 28 45 11 /// 09 53 52 77 27