Brigitte de Fabry, The Secret Paradise of Patina Finishes

Originally from Paris, but today with her heart in Aix-en-Provence, Brigitte Fabry has a passion for others. From teaching eighteenth-century patina finishes on wood, to welcoming students to her charming farmhouse in the village Puyricard, this generous artist likes to reveal everyone’s true colors.
By Mélissa Darré

What is your relationship to Provence?

My husband is from the area, whereas I am originally from Paris. I moved here 35 years ago now. What I like here is the light, especially in winter. The small-town aspect is also conducive to peace; we really live in tune with nature. Here, I am ideally located close to the city center of Aix-en-Provence, but with the feeling of being far from everything.

Beyond the environment, Provence is a world apart, including in the mentalities. We are closer, in the state of mind, to Italians and Spaniards than to the people from the east, for example. This lifestyle, even if it is very pleasant, doesn’t suit everyone. There is a certain lack of discipline that some can’t stand.

Describe your research into color?

Focused on eighteenth-century techniques, I work on a succession of layers of paint until I achieve the exact color that a person is looking for. It’s not always easy because not everyone knows how to put what he wants into words, and besides, we don’t all see colors the same way.

Today, my classes allow my students to learn the methods in about fifteen hours. It's a bit like in the kitchen when preparing a recipe. You add salt, pepper, spices, to create your very own dish. With painting, you mix the pigments until you get your own hue.

How did you have the idea to combine classes in patina finishes with a guest house?

When my husband and I built our house I ended up with a slipped disc, and I found myself lying in bed for several months. It was at that time that I decided to stop working on construction sites. And I thought of this course. Today, it’s true that there are courses on everything, but at the time it hardly existed. And it really took off!

For the B&B, my three children had left home and my students regularly asked me where they could stay, and at first I decided to welcome them here. Then, I had a request for a guest house for a wedding so I took the plunge. But none of this was planned. So much so that since 2007, my home has become my workplace.

There is also a sharing aspect. Many people come for the classes, but not only. They want to be listened to, to be supported somehow. This psychological dimension plays a part. Over time, I feel I have become an art therapist, helping my students, mostly women, to bring out their own color through this work with paint.

www.stage-patine.com

Brigitte de Fabry, The Secret Paradise of Patina Finishes
Brigitte de Fabry, The Secret Paradise of Patina Finishes
Originally from Paris, but today with her heart in Aix-en-Provence, Brigitte Fabry has a passion for others
Photography: José Nicolas
Teaching eighteenth-century patina finishes on wood
Teaching eighteenth-century patina finishes on wood
"I work on a succession of layers of paint until I achieve the exact color that a person is looking for"
Photography: José Nicolas
A charming farmhouse
A charming farmhouse
"Many people come for the classes, but not only. They want to be listened to, to be supported somehow"
Photography: José Nicolas
A Bed & Breakfast
A Bed & Breakfast

"For the B&B, my three children had left home and my students regularly asked me where they could stay, and at first I decided to welcome them here"

Photography: José Nicolas

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