Thursday, June 16, 2016

Losing My Heart to Marbling!

As a longtime bibliophile, I have also long been interested in marbled paper, which was common in past years as endpapers, and even along the page edges..... not that I own any of these types of books, mind you!  Two artist friends took a paper marbling workshop with master marblers Regina and Dan St. John of Chena River Marblers a few years back at a local art venue, Creative Arts Workshop, here in New Haven.  And since then, I've wanted to take this workshop.  I jumped for joy when I saw back in February that it would be offered this June, and immediately signed up!

Warning - THIS IS PHOTO HEAVY FOR MY OWN RECORDS! But I hope you enjoy as well!  And forgive the photo/text spacing - Blogger and I have our little tiffs and tonight is one example!

We started with some free form "drawing" with a stylus once the acrylic paints had been added to the special "bath".  The paper is regular paper, primed with an alum solution, which acts as a gesso to give tooth to which the paint can adhere without washing off in the rinse.  Here are two examples in two different color ways.

Here you can see some white areas where the paint did not cover the bath.  These are known as "worms", and can be removed with certain techniques.... but I kind of like the design element here, lol!  Almost looks like stitching in some places.

Then we moved onto a bull's eye pattern.  I used primary colors, and did not make my circles merge (which really just reflects the amount of paint on the bath before laying the paper.  I do not have any pictures of the first layer, but once it dried, I overlaid it with another bull's eye pattern.... not really my style, but whatever!

Here you can see that we were working on large pieces of paper.... but one can marble on virtually any size object.

The red paint here is starting to break down, producing a lovely but unexpected crackling effect....not treasured by most marblers, but I loved it, lol!  And Regina told me some folks try for this... they must be part of our clan!

Below is an attempt at a classic chevron, which should be much straighter!  And following that is where I swirled it with my stylus because the pattern was going really funky due to poor technique with the tool to produce the chevron.  Reminiscent of a hurricane weather map in steps, lol!!

Here is another experiment with the combs and rakes that are dragged through the paint for patterns....
Here is a beautiful pattern originated by Galen Berry, a noted American Marbler.  Regina made this pattern from my paints on the bath.
Playing around with color and the tools...
The following blue and green was made with my sister-in-law in mind, as she is a devoted fan of the Seattle Sounders soccer team - these are their colors!

Some more play with colors and tools...

This is a technique known as Moire - it looks dimensional, but is not.  The "folds" are created by squishing the underlying base color together when moving the paper as it is laid into the bath.... this is a very poor example, but hopefully you can see the idea!  It is absolutely beautiful and amazing when done properly by an expert.
So, just what I need - another paper obsession, lol!!  But will definitely be diving more into this, as I adore the exploration.... and can see many uses for the (usually) beautiful papers created.   

Thanks so much for hanging in here with me, if you have!  And if you've time, please do comment - I always love hearing your thoughts about my work!  

xxx Lynn 


  1. What beautiful outcomes from your workshop Lynn, I love every piece you made and what fun you must have had. I remember doing ink marbling with my classes when we made project books and using them as end papers, they loved the immediate results they got. I can see some projects coming up with your brilliant designs. Have a great weekend xxx

  2. These are so beautiful, Lynn! There's so much texture and depth to these, some are just so mesmerizing! I can see how addicting this would be once you got started! I wonder what plans you have for these...hope you will share!

  3. What can I say -- incredible works of art!!!!! Looks like to me that your experiments have paid off big time in beauty!!
    sandy xx

  4. Oh wow - I have fallen in love with marbling! Your samples are absolutely stunning and look so very professional - my favourite is the red crackle effect - how can marblers not love that! I have done very small scale marbline over the years and taught it to my students once or twice but have never produced anything anywhere near as beautiful as these - I need to learn how to do it properly! I am wondering what you will use the papers for - they should be framed as works of art in their own right (especially that crackle one)!

  5. These are exquisite! How fun and utterly gorgeous!

  6. Oh my gosh Lynn, this takes marbling to a whole new level. I only know it as the simple shaving foam and ink play, but these are something that takes the technique to another plane, amazing samples! I cannot wait to see what you will do with them!!

  7. Wow, Lynn - what a treasure trove of beautiful marbling effects - another extraordinary workshop-full of inspiration and technical knowhow, clearly. I love the crackle of the broken down red paint (of course!), but I think I may need to follow the Seattle Sounders too... glorious colours and effects on that one - I think my favourite of all.
    Alison x

  8. Wow, I have never seen anything like this before Lynn!! These are just amazing, what a wonderful technique! I do hope we get to see some final projects with these fabulous marble backgrounds! hugs :)

  9. Ummm, flabbergasted I am! This is SPECTACULAR AND awesome sauce! So many variations with the technique. I sure bet you jumped for joy when this class was offered, I would as well. My favorite had to be the folded one. It looks so dimensional! Wowzers and wowzers and wowzers!!!!!! Hugz! ~Niki

  10. Wow, Lynn! these samples are beautiful, and you must have been a very good student! What a wonderful technique to learn and now you have plenty of lovely projects ready to go! Although if it were me, I would be hoarding these just to sit and stare at them! The crackle one is my favorite-could you guess? I guess I'm one of the clan! Hugs!