H.J. Holtz & Son decorative artists Brian Smith and Logan Porter want to talk about Venetian plaster.

What is Venetian plaster? It’s a lime-based plaster that includes ground marble or quartz aggregate. The plaster is applied in thin layers, using a trowel – or multiple trowels, depending on the finish that is desired. When complete, the plaster is a hard, smooth surface that can resemble marble, metal, wood or stone. Using other tools when the plaster is wet, the artist can create patterns or ridges as well.

Smith and Porter’s enthusiasm for Venetian plaster deepened after they attended a training earlier this year at Firenzecolor, the largest importer of Venetian plasters and decorative products in the U.S. The all-day class, held at Firenzecolor’s New York City location, had fewer than a dozen participants, which allowed for plenty of individual instruction. Over the course of the day, the two practiced with the company’s traditional finishes as well as new offerings.

“The possibilities [with Venetian plaster] are endless,” Porter says.

Smith adds: “We try to suggest Venetian plasters [to customers] because it’s cool. We want to show people what’s possible.”

The goal for traditionally-painted walls, both note, is for the appearance of perfection – an even surface. Venetian plaster, however, brings movement and fluidity to a wall. In fact, Smith says, “You have to make it look organic as you’re applying the plaster; you don’t want straight lines.”

“You don’t want things to be uniform,” Porter adds.

Porter, who has been with the company for seven years, and Smith, who joined Holtz & Son 13 years ago, agree they appreciate each project’s individuality.

“Every day, it’s like walking into a magazine,” Porter says. “Being a part of creating that is very satisfying.”

Smith adds: “Every single day is different. We are the only company [locally] doing this kind of work; it’s fun to have customers who give you a little more freedom.”

For more images of these artists’ creations, visit Instagram: bsmith_bs_art and logan_porter804oh.