Archive for the ‘marbled paper’ Category

Works in Progress…..

…yeah, I know, I’m still behind….but I have been working.

There are a bunch of things going on, one of which is finished and waiting to go up in Etsy, and the other two in various stages of completion. The completed piece started in a traditional clam shell pattern that I put aside in my stash. Since most of the small quilts i have done as practice pieces have all sold in Etsy, I figured to do a few more. This is a great piece of fabric, and it reminded me of the few times I went clamming on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and the Outer Banks, especially the bay side. So I just let the design guide my free motion quilting.

Quilting pieces like this is so zen-like, and I love the effects.

I serged the edges in a fine stitch, just shy of being a rolled edge. I knew I was going to add some yarn to the outer edge to simulate the foam of waves receding. But the piece also needed some focal points. I was looking around to perhaps buy some small clam shells and not having any luck (had no idea that there are so many packaging types labeled “clam shell”). It finally occurred to me to go to my second mom, who is a fanatic when it comes to shells…..she has LOADS of clam shells, so I had my pick, and then hubby added clear nail polish to bring out the subtle colors.

Problem was I still felt I needed some blues for accent, so I spent about an hour sewing on a variety of blue seed beads…..and it looked terrible. I pulled them off, only to realize I shouldn’t have any problem with beads coming off other pieces I do…they were secure. Went to get the white yarn and saw some cool blue yarn I have used in the past to simulate water. So…….got the fabric glue and went to town on the edges. I like the final result – don’t love it, but I do like it, and since it’s really a practice piece, I know someone else will like it too. Here goes:

Next up are some small squares and rectangles from about 10 years ago, as I wanted to do something with geodes. I pulled these out again to see about small Etsy pieces. I laid them out and realized I had kind of a cool wall hanging developing.

The quilting is completed on all seven, and the serged edging just kind of fades into the background, just like I like it. This is the basic stone pattern in marbling. What I discovered with them this time is I used a “micro” stippling for the white spaces, and all of a sudden I had a great sand effect.

Love the effect!

I was thinking originally to connect the pieces with beads, but then I found some beige Offray ribbon that we marbled. Gorgeous!! What I don’t use will go up in Etsy or Tophatter.

And then I decided to look through the beads and stones to find something for the very bottom. Lava and some tree agate…..

Hopefully by next week I will have a finished piece.

And then…as I am trying to work on some patterns, I started free motion quilting another piece of stash fabric. I used some Superior blue silk, with Bottom Line in the bobbin. I like the effect of not too large thread just outlining the design.

I have decided to go with an orange Rainbow for some of the piece.

Again, hopefully, a finished piece for next week, along with a completed pattern. Lots to do!

Monday Marketing – The “Duh” Moment

Oy, sometimes ya just need to be hit with the proverbial two-by-four….For YEARS we have worked on product with our marbled fabrics, and we have also tried lots of different venues for arts and craft shows. Some product has worked, which has been good. The art and craft show circuit – not at all. We invariably lose money. We take framed work, digital work, fabrics, digital cards…..nothing sells because most people don’t have a clue what to do with the fabric.

Now we’re working on putting together our gift baskets for the holiday season. We know that we can keep these going year round by keeping the hand-crafted bowls a fairly neutral color, as well as adding in some seasonal items. It dawned on us, as we threw away the latest offer for a holiday craft show, that all we could really bring was the baskets.

Well, duh. The baskets all along could have been the seller. All in one place, items for that family member that can be hard to buy for. Shrink-wrapped. Lots of goodies. No worry or muss. No explaining how to use the fabrics.

And then….as we’re talking about maybe choosing a couple of shows for next year, it occurs to us we could offer the gift baskets in two sizes, small and large.


All these years, staring us in the face, and we never saw it.

Sometimes we work so hard and miss the obvious. Right now I’m pretty irritated with us for this having taken so long. But on the other hand, now we have a great new product that should work long-term and give us a lot to build on for more stuff in the baskets. Who knows what else we might have missed along the way?


Promotions, Guidelines, Giveaways….Oh My……

Interesting post today from Social Media Examiner, and I think I need to share this, if only so that I can better understand what’s what with giveaways.

Evidently it’s not as easy to do giveaways and promotions on Facebook, and in general there are a lot of guidelines to follow – which I think most of us small businesses do, just as a matter of ethics. Requiring people to “like” a page or become “fans” or do anything changes the rules and makes this a contest, as opposed to a give-away. If you read the comments in the article on Social Media, you’ll find a lot of confusion, especially as regards to doing this on Facebook.

When you read the “Promotions” guidelines on Facebook, (and we’ve all done that, right???), you’ll notice that what many of us have been doing doesn’t seem to fit those guidelines. I think most of us with some sort of fiber giveaway to celebrate milestones – a certain number of fans, reaching a major number of blogs – do so with pure intent – like this and you could win something. We just need to be aware of what we’re doing and make sure everything that we need to do according to federal guidelines, we are.

It’s similar to the FTC guidelines about bloggers promoting an item where they receive a commission – we need full disclosure that we get paid to do this. If you start looking at your spam, you’ll notice a lot of it doesn’t have actual names and addresses at the end of emails to tell you exactly where all this is coming from. More and more sites (mine included) let you know that there are products we promote for which we may receive a commission. That’s how affiliate marketing works, and that’s a great source of passive income for many of us.

So here’s what I’m going to do. When I hit a milestone that I’ve set, I’ll do a giveaway of goodies.  I’ll mention on Facebook that it’s happening, but you won’t need to do anything except head over to read the blog – which hopefully you’re doing anyway.  Any giveaway will run solely through my blog – after I continue to read up on the in’s and out’s of this. I’m interested in your thoughts on this topic.

Boring, huh?  Here’s some eye candy to make up for it (although ya gotta admit this is important information). Enjoy the marbled papers. marbled paper


A Life-Changing Few Months

To say that it has been a while is an understatement. My last posts dealt with the Tucson shootings, and the aftermath for the community has been ongoing. Many in the community have been dealing with personal issues surrounding the events, from getting updates on Gabby Giffords and coping with the weird Arizona legislature to trying to understand our roles as humans working together.

For me, it has meant two months of a pretty severe depression, trying to cope with understanding so many of the historical aspects of this country coming in to play, trying to manage what the economy is doing to individuals, and getting ready to retire from a career of 40 years in education. I had to remove myself from almost everything extra in my life beyond the day-to-day coping within the classroom. I did a lot of sleeping and a lot of being sad. I didn’t even do a Fish Follies entry this year.

At Christmas we decided to move the retirement date to June of 2012. Hubby had some major health issues in January that will eventually lead to major surgery, and all I could think about was not having time together. His next CT scan will be in August, right when school starts again. That was probably the tipping point to look at retirement this May. I made the final decision the end of February to retire after working all the numbers with the retirement folks, and then a month ago applied for SSI.

Gotta tell ya, when I made the decision, it was like a weight had lifted. I started packing my classroom the next day – and it took the three months to get it all finished. Most of my math manipulatives, books, and supplies went to an organization called Treasures4Teachers – will be a nice tax deduction, and they were very grateful for all the goodies and posters.

In April, during spring break, we spent time with our friends up north who now have a place in Cornville, AZ, just south of Sedona right along Oak Creek. It is a gorgeous, restful spot. I was admiring all of my friend’s storage, and the conversation turned to the fact that maybe one of the problems getting back into the studio was the need to reorganize. Which got me thinking, and over the next month I started cleaning and organizing, and looking for new storage that would work. We’re about half-way through at this point, and the place looks great – and even better – feels great. Two more sets of shelves and we should be just about done. But I don’t think I’ll be waiting to get in there to sew.

So I’m recovering slowly from the depression, starting the rest of my life on my terms, planning on a nice run of happiness. And I’ll be back to blogging and creating and marbling and reading and writing and Photoshop and traveling and being with people and working for peace….

Marbled Papers Galore!

A friend called on a Saturday morning a few weeks ago to let us know of a bookbinder’s conference in Tucson, with great marbled papers. We headed over to the Radisson to find the annual Guild of Bookworkers Conference. Oh, my, the marbled papers were scrumptious. One of the marblers was from New Mexico, Pamela Smith, and her work was amazing.

Plus, there was another amazing lady there with marbled papers, whom I have forgotten, plus a couple of companies with really gorgeous stuff. Apologies for no names, but I did have permission to take the pictures. Hiromi Paper had a catalog that I picked up, because I’m always curious, and I found fascinating information about the art of paper making in Japan. This could lead to a serious new hobby…but right now I just want to take some of those marbling patterns and get them on cloth!

And now for the eye candy. You can click to get larger pics and see the incredible detail.

Marbling on Paper

Readers of this blog already know this is my favorite piece of marbled paper. We made it in our marbling class last spring – a tough pattern we can’t always replicate. I have been marbling more paper, and I do enjoy it. There is less prep work than with fabric, but the pretreating is a tad trickier.

We started out marbling on fabric, with no real interest in marbling paper. But we decided to try it once. It was a disaster. We pretreated the paper by soaking the whole sheet of paper. Big mistake…..the paper just basically decomposed. We have since learned to just sponge the alum on the paper, not soak it. Duh – you would’ve thought that was obvious.

But when we started marbling, there were not a lot of books (and certainly none of the YouTube videos) available, and much information was kept pretty close to the chest. Nowadays the sharing is much freer. So I have some things to work on, but I like the 9 by 12 size, the ease of the paints, and usually the finished product. When I improve my pretreating with alum, the pattern won’t wash off the paper.

This work is still fairly traditional, and I am a LONG way from doing work like the Turkish masters and their flowers. But it’s still lots of fun and very satisfying. The patterns and color combinations are just endless. Enjoy – and comments welcome! But don’t even think about “borrowing” the images….

A Very Busy Saturday…..

What a busy Saturday, and it’s not even over! Awoke late (like 8-ish) as Hubby was finishing marbling fabric in our small tray (cookie size). Decided to finish the rearranging in the living room, moving the desks, trying to get the printer to fit in a small area, dusting and eliminating the armies of dust bunnies hiding in all the computer cords. The move opened up the living room dramatically, and we’re still pretty organized. And then…I marbled my papers for today…very productive day!
Two of the bookcases went into the studio – no longer a spare room, sold the guest bed because we need dedicated studio space. And right before dinner I finished up organizing the studio, so now I can attack the many projects, especially the ones needing to be done for the March show.
This first is my sewing table, in  a remarkably clean moment. The best purchase I ever made (actually hubby did for me for a present) was the acrylic table extension. The design wall is to the right, and when needed, the card table serves as additional table space. Left storage is all fabrics, right storage is thread, beads and stones, assorted yarns, and other miscellaneous stuff. You can see my needle-point tiger, who needs a new roost.

This first bookcase is by the arcadia door to the back yard. You can’t see all the bears on the top shelf – presents from hubby, since I never got stuffed animals growing up. A whole shelf to store current projects, plus assorted books and scrapbooks.

This next is the cutting table, open to use for work, with all the marbling trays and paints and combs on the shelving. It is amazing how much use we get out of this table. It was well worth the purchase…and you can’t see what’s stored underneath – stool, rubber floor mats for standing, more fabric (of course), racks for drying, and so on. The sheet is up because this serves as our wet space, and we tend to splatter when marbling.

This was the first rack that got moved in here. This rack is older than our marriage; it even survived our house fire. It has been inside, outside, and repainted, and it still is useful. CD player, semi-precious stones and beads, fabrics, clothesline for fabric bowls, trays of rulers, and probably lots more stuff. I have actually gone through every container and sorted the stuff.

Inside the closet – our easel for displays, the large marbling tray, large ironing board, and containers of more fabric, all sorted by color, so I know what to look for.

The other side of the closet has my beginning dye supplies, more fabric, boxes of patterns, and caning supplies – hubby still canes chairs and does repairs – the guy’s been working with fiber for 40 years without even realizing it!

And the last bookcase – with more bears – all art books, marbling, books, current projects, and the like. You can see the other tiger – lots of spirit protectors around for us. The shredder and the ceramic vegetables, which will hang back outside when I know the wind is done with its gusts. Now that I know where everything is, there are no more exucses – it’s work time for me!

Licensing, San Diego, and Other Loose Ends ….

Lots going on it seems, and there are times when my head just feels so full and I don’t know where to begin. I do have some upcoming deadlines, but there are so many things to do….it seems that making lists isn’t even helping. So I have to go step by step, until I get a handle on everything happening.

First up is this fat quarter of silk, up on ebay this week. We aren’t doing a lot of marbling in our large tray, as we have just been enjoying the small work, but we are trying to set up the big stuff at least once a month, as we have some steady customers on ebay who buy regularly. You can check out this piece here.

I think I am getting hooked on marbling paper. I set up a small tray this morning and did half a dozen papers. I finally was able to improve on a traditional moire pattern, which turned out great. I am trying to do more with flowers, as some of the traditional Turkish marblers do, and I had medium luck. But the piece did turn out pretty cool, with some adaptation on my part. That said, take a look –

These are available for sale. Paper 9 x 12 inches. Four sheets $10.00. Email me for more information.

Licensing is moving along. I realized today I need to start a list of what I have done so far so I know exactly what to follow up on. I am thinking that Zazzle will give me a chance to play around with images and items to prepare a portfolio for presentation. I am going to try and attend the licensing conference in June in Vegas, so I need to be prepared.

I’ll close with a couple more of the photos from our San Diego trip. I love this one – like a sentinel of Bird of Paradise – which was the main flower in my wedding photo.

We spent a morning at Point Loma, taking in the views and visiting the light house. What a gorgeous spot – and it was a perfect blue sky, although a tad brisk first thing in the morning! This is looking at North Island Naval Station on Coronado, with the skyline of San Diego in the background.

This is taken from the light house, with the Cabrillo Monument in the center. The lone person standing there is hubby – the light house is considerably higher – in fact, it didn’t really work well as a light house, because it was higher than the fog, so ships weren’t able to see it.

What is like about this one is the cactus on the edge of the cliff. We usually assocaite cactus with desert, and it just seemed very strange.

More on the Mingei Museum next time.

Top Ten Marbling Sites

copyright 2008 by Linda A. Moran, all rights reserved

Marbling is such a fascinating process, hundreds of years old, and much of it still “hidden” to the public, given that the Guilds used to be very protective of their skills and secrets, and would put marblers to death if they shared secrets outside their guild. Not in these days – you have paper marblers involved in antique book restoration, commissions, and marbling fabric. We spent ten years learning the craft, just to consider ourselves passable at marbling. We have so much left to learn! What follows are a collection of links to this amazing art form. What I am trying to do with my blog is document how I am using the marbled fabric we create into other forms – quilting, abstract, wearable, and digital.

All of these videos are pretty good – gives you an idea of just how meditative this art form can be. Some of the videos are 7 minutes or longer – but worth the wait. Plan to spend some time, as the work is gorgeous! The websites have amazing work on them, so enjoy!

From YouTube:
Paper Marbling
Turkish Marbling
The Art of Marbling
Ebru Sanati
Ebru Sanati 2

Marbling Websites:
Marjorie Beavis
The Art of Fabric
Galen Berry
Society of Marbling – loads of links here on marbling – some amazing eye candy!
Iris Nevins

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