Archive for the ‘marbling’ Category

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….

Art Every Day Month- November 21

While I haven’t kept up with the zentangles each day, I have managed to do something with art every day this month – mostly sewing, as I am taking an existing pattern from Judy Neimeyer and adding my own twist. It has made for a great bunch of days – I am so enjoying creating after work, and I hope it will continue.

That said, I picked up a book last weekend at the quilt shop called Piecing with Pixels. I am very intrigued with doing more with my own fabric in digital imaging. One of the chapters is on taking your own images – in my case fabric – and using Photoshop to create a texture library. Which is what I did tonight – lots of fun, and all I did was take one piece of quilted marbled fabric and try a bunch of filters.

The photo above is of the original piece which I did about 6 years ago – I did some color changes through Photoshop at that time. What I discovered tonight was a totally different approach – in the past I have been trying to turn a piece of fabric into a design that will stand on its own. Now I realize what I want is lots of textures that could go together. Playing was definitely fun:

Dry Brush filter

Halftones filter



Find edges filter








Neon glow


Ink Outlines



Polar coordinates

Plastic Wrap

Palette knife

Rough pastels

Rough pastels











My task tomorrow is to try and actually design a couple of quilt blocks just to see what happens. I welcome your comments – which ones do you really like?

A New Zentangle

I have had a great couple of days, even if I couldn’t get to all the art I wanted. Yesterday, after grading papers and getting organized, I worked on a new Zentangle. I am so hooked on these – so very relaxing. This time it was just circles, and you can see from above how it worked out. Needless to say, I had to try some effects in Photoshop, and you can see below the layer styles and gradients. Reminds me of those feathery puppets on strings that jangle all about.

Pics from Monday’s art group and our paper marbling. You can see us dropping paint and manipulating patterns, and finally a finished product. Paper is so different from fabric – I am enjoying the paper, but I need to spend a lot more time working on designs in order for the papers to look really good! But we had a great time!

National Blogger’s Day – Climate Change

Since today bloggers are talking about climate change, I thought it appropriate to use my sunrise piece. I don’t often get up early enough (voluntarily) to see a sunrise, but this time of year I’m headed to school as the sun is coming up. We’ve had more dust in the air than usual, including a recent air inversion, as well as added pollution. It used to be the desert sky and air was the bluest, truest blue, but we are losing that to unchecked growth.

Our summers are changing – getting hotter and hotter (the third warmest on record this year), and our water patterns are changing. It used to be when monsoon season hit, the clouds would gather from the heat in early afternoon and then dump a ferocious thunder and lightning rainstorm around 4 PM, flood the washes and roads, and then dry out. You could count on our “monsoon season” for half the yearly rain. That just isn’t happening any more. We are having summers where the cactus are so dry and parched that you can almost see through them.

As I read about climate change (Friedman’s book “Hot, Flat and Crowded” is an amazing piece of research), I become very aware of my own individual impact on our environment. I try to take the bus at least twice a week, try to recycle as much as I can because we are rapidly outgrowing our landfills, and try to be very conscious of the water I am using. But I know it isn’t enough.

Are we reaching the point of no return on the planet? Will we change things so significantly that we can no longer return to a balanced planet? I don’t know – I DO know that we have to be conscious of our impact, each and every one of us – on our little piece of the planet.

On a happier note, here are some of our bigger pieces from our marbling session this past Saturday – all are available on Ebay this week.

This first is a fat quarter of silk organza – gorgeous stuff to work with, now that we are having luck again with our tray. This piece is pastel, and it has a nice hand to it – soft, heat-set, and ready to go. The pattern is one we call “small feathers,” and for it to be successful, it needs a lot of colors to the mix.

This is a fat quarter in blues and yellows, much nicer than the picture. It’s pima cotton, pre-srhunk and heat-set. This is a marbled wave, giving great illusion of movement.

This last is a half yard of pima cotton, marbled with blues, blacks, and hints of purples. The pattern is a modified bouquet – looks somewhat like a waterfall, depending on its orientation. Again, heat-set and ready to go for whatever you can dream!

Saturday Special – Finally!!!!!!!!!

One side of the studio….before we set up for marbling. We marbled today in our big tray (5 feet by 3 feet) for the first time in 3 years – we did large pieces of fabric! If you’ve been following this blog, you know that we had massive marbling problems three years ago, and once we got back on track, we have just used our very small trays. But after getting a new routine down (new paints, new process), we decided it was time to go large again. It was fabulous – but a lot more work.

Because we are using our paints differently, and we rent, there is an interesting spatter problem, especially on the tile floors. Everything in the studio/second bedroom has to be covered. So all that you see in the pic at the left gets covered.

It’s not pretty, but we need to keep everything clean! A great use for all those old sheets, if they’re not already rags. Even the design wall gets covered, especially with a new work in progress (Into the Woods, from last month’s Stripper’s Club).

Setting up really takes a long time, before we even pull out paints and combs. Very hi-tech combs – toothpicks, and assorted other pointy things.

You can see the beginning of a pattern in our large tray – and the reflection from the sheets pinned to the wall! We block off part of the tray when we work, so that we can keep the paint concentrated in one area, like here where we are in the process of creating a marbled pattern for a silk scarf.

After cleanup, which sometimes takes forever – bailing the large tray, cleaning brushes, storing paints, washing out fabric not used, and on and on…then we have the haul for the day!

Hint: some of this will be headed for Ebay tomorrow…..stay tuned!

Sunday Sampler

It’s Sunday, the end of one week, and yet it’s the start of another – Sundays during the school year are spent doing lesson plans and marking papers – I’m usually too tired to do anything on a Saturday but relax and sleep. Housework? Not on the agenda…..hardly ever…..

I’ve been trying to think of something earth-shattering – or at least exciting – to write about, but nothing comes to mind. I haven’t hemmed pants yet (only three weeks since cutting them), done any sewing or handwash – I’ve been spending most of my time sleeping, trying to get rid of whatever has hit me yet again.

I need to look at some of the work we have created, so I think I’ll just load up some eye candy….

Really scrumptious white denim as the base.

More denim…
Denim again…
Red silk….

Thursday Thoughts – The New School Year

Another really cool piece from the past – a lot of these art pieces that went up on Ebay were left over from commissions. This piece always reminds me of a misty morning. I probably should try something else with it, so I will work on this one tomorrow, with Photoshop.

School started yesterday – just the teachers in for meetings. I spent today getting ready for ninth grade orientation tomorrow. And once I again I face the same conflict every year at this time – how can I maintain the momentum from all the summer art work? Yesterday I was so tired, I had no energy to sew after dinner. Now, rationally I know that’s to be expected the first week or so back, because I have to get re-energized with the school year and get the body attuned to the new schedule. But still, every year the momentum just fades……

I do enjoy blogging, and I want to maintain at least 5 entries a week. Blogging really helps me process what’s going on in my life, as well as the original purpose – to keep a record of my creativity. I had a blast at our arts meeting on Monday – we all seemed to mesh really well as a group of diverse artists – lots of dialogue about how we do what we do, and what we would like from the group – keeping us motivated. There’s momentum, again.

I am hoping the monthly meetings will help me work on projects for each time we get together. September has the gem show and a chance to look for new goodies, with some of the group. I want to work on the bamboo piece and look for more “dirt-ish” stone to embellish the base.

It all comes down to getting over the end-of-the-day slump and get busy during the evenings. I am surprised – and pleased – that so far I am not overwhelmed by preparation. I have so many things prepared from last year, that now I can actually work at presenting material in a much more interactive manner – which is a goal for this year.

So I guess it’s just a matter of time……

Work-In-Progress Wednesday

I think maybe I am on the mend. Today I actually felt normal (well, normal for me), and I wanted to accomplish some things. Picked up the commission quilt so I can finish it – did quick measurements and looks to be definitely a king-size without any problems. I hope to begin again tomorrow.

I want to get this quilt finished so I can begin again on some of my projects. I found that, except for my digital work, I don’t have much new fiber – well, nothing really. I do have a few unfinished pieces, and lots of fabric ready for ideas, but no new finished pieces. The bamboo piece from 5 years ago has started to call to me, so that will be next.

What you see to the left is the marbled fabric in a really good chevron pattern. When the piece came out of the tray, for some reason bamboo spoke to me almost immediately. I have a series of works on the website that are “woven” – strips of marbled fabric that have been quilted, embellished, and woven together. My Gaia 2: Beginnings piece is one of my favorites (known to me as Pele). I stumbled into this style quite by accident, and I do want to continue in this vein. You can see the major works on this website page, and I want to do more!! I want fiber!!

So I am going to work with this “bamboo” fabric as you can see from the strip below. I want to get lots of skinny narrow silk leaves to marble to add to the bamboo as a finishing touch.

We discovered a number of years ago a great way to get the most out of our marbling sessions, since the materials are so expensive. We lay ribbon along the edges of the bath to soak up paint, and we take apart silk flowers and marble them. Here’s a photo of the last bunch of flowers that went up on ebay. These are always a lot of fun to do and work as great embellishments. Ooooo, Anne – just had a thought – would these work in a collage for you? Would be happy to send some your way….

Now to get healthy all the way….

The Waiting Game – Part 2

Yes, yes, yes!! The waiting game is worth it, as I got two pieces into the Fish Follies art show at the Cordova Historical Museum in Cordova, Alaska. You can view last year’s entries here. Suzan Drury is my digital partner, and she won (and sold her piece) honorable mention last year. This is my third acceptance (each of the three years I have entered), and my second fiber piece. Last year Suzan and I had two pieces accepted, and this year we just did one joint piece. I do like the fact that they look seriously at fiber entries. This pic at the top of this post is a close-up of Ocean’s Bounty – I’ll get a full-size one posted soon.

So I could say I have a track record at this show – now if I could just sell something….but I am not going to let a heavily quilted and embellished piece sell for peanuts. Plus, I made the marbled fabric to begin with. Now I’m waiting on the Fort Collins show…all fiber – we’ll see if they like “out-of-the-box” fiber!

Anne (see comments) from El Milagro Studio suggested creating a body of work and shopping it to galleries, which is what a lot of the focus will be this year. I do have a track record of getting into shows, including one rather prestigious fiber show. Some of our entries:

* Textures Gallery and Studio, Scottsdale, AZ, Fall, 2003
* “My World in Black and White,” online exhibition, 2003-2004
* “My World in Black and White,” Ontario Museum of Art and History, CA, 2003 – 2004
* Schullenberger Gallery, Jericho, VT. Artists’ Showcase, December 2003
* Leandro Fabrics and Gallery, Tucson, AZ, May 2004, September 2004
* Expressions in Textiles, juried show, New Haven, CT, August 2004
* Fabric of Legacies, juried show, Fort Collins, CO, July 2004
* Fish Follies, juried show, Cordova, AK, August-November 2004
* Art of the Sixth Extinction, WomenKraft Gallery, Tucson, AZ. Winter 2005
* Fish Follies, juried show, Cordova, Alaska, July – November 2008

And now – Fish Follies, juried show, Cordova, Alaska, June – November 2009!

Here’s hoping for more!

New to Marbled Musings? Here’s a sample of what we’re about!

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

Welcome to Marbled Musings!

Welcome to the world of marbled fabrics, creativity and Photoshop, and the occasional comments on life. Most of the posts revolve around these topics. I’ve broken them down into categories, along with some of the keys posts in each. Feel free to browse, and come back, for I have been really increasing my design productivity.

Orange Blossoms
Photoshop Transforming
The Digital Generation
Artists, Creativity, and Depression
Organization Queen
The Importance of Art Education
When Art Class Works
Adventures in Marbling
History of Marbling
History of Marbling – Part 2
Top Ten Lists:
Boo on You, Martha Stewart!
Top Ten Inspirational Books

Creating – and Back to the Beginning

It’s the weekend and I want to play around some more with ideas from some indigenous images to see what happens. This is also a way for me to boost – and expand – Photoshop skills. Here’s the original clip-art image, from one of the Dover books: North American Indian Motifs. I like the Dover books because they are royalty-free and they lead to some great inspiration, using the marbled fabrics.

I have to learn I can’t load a jpg image to start – I need to use BMP – and then convert, which is new for me, and I am getting used to it. I also am learning how to paste one image into another blank page. The other think I have discovered today is I don’t have nearly enough marbled patterns in my pattern assortment. They all tend to be the same, so I need to scan more fabric and work on a new pattern collection – lights and darks, different hues, all from the same pieces.

This is the first part – just important patterns. I’n not adverse to the colors, but one of the major things I discovered is when I used my magic wand, I didn’t zap the areas to a new layer, so can’t enhance each section like I would like. Right now I am pleased with colors, but it is oh so flat, and I don’t really have a good background fabric-pattern to use at this point. So for now, I’m off to scan fabrics, play with colors and sizes, and then hopefully come back, do this over on new layers, and proceed from here.

Other Photoshop journeys you might enjoy:
New Directions – this has found its way into many of our new works.
Marbled Fabrics

Don’t forget our CONTEST!

Two Years Ago…

As I work through the blogging class, I’m aware that I’ve had my blog a while (250+ posts, and over two years), and I was looking at Google Analytics today, checking on one of the clicked-on pages. Turns out it’s from almost exactly 2 years ago – check out what I was working on! Looking at this made me realize how far I have come with my Photoshop skills – I was so proud of that piece – and I still think it’s a good piece – would make a good card….ooohhhh – write that idea down….the mind has been a sieve lately.

Took a great walk this morning, out an hour, over 30 pictures of the neighborhood – they’ll follow shortly. Spring is amazing here in the new neighborhood!

Contest Time!

I will preface this by saying I have never done this – either contest or gallery show, so it’s all new! But as you can see from a previous post, I m in need of a title to unite all our work. There are three (and possibly a fourth, who is a photographer) of us putting this together. The only restriction from the park gallery is that the focus has to be Southwestern, which is not a problem at all. And – I want something more exciting than “Southwestern Art.”

That said, we have fiber art from marbled fabrics, digital manipulation of images, both with and without marbling, and some great stand-along photography of the Southwest. You can see some examples here, and you can scroll through older posts. Plus, The Art of Fabric, our website, has examples of fiber art. The image at the top of this post is an example – and the drama is lost on this size! The show isn’t just about marbling, which would simplify our title tremendously, but in the directions some of the marbling is taking us, as well as digital experimentation with Photoshop. We are trying to be unique in the marbling niche, and the digital work seems to be providing that.

But – we also don’t want the show to be exclusively digital marbling. Consequently, we want suggestions. And to the winning suggestion, you will get a four-pack of note cards with original digital marbling images. You get to see some of our new work before too many others do.

So comment away – if there are several title suggestions that are the same, the one submitted first will be judged the winner. I’ll keep an ongoing commentary as we develop the show, piece by piece – even if it is 4 years away. We will be ready!

Additional examples of art work – scroll through the past posts – there is usually some art work that is included in each posting.

Top Ten Reasons Martha Stewart Doesn’t Know Marbling!

Martha Stewart on the Today Show, demonstrating “marbleizing” and promoting her new book, The Encyclopedia of Crafts. What’s wrong with this picture? Here’s a quick “Top Ten.”

1. Marbleizing? It’s called “marbling,” or “ebru” (the Turkish name), and anything else is an insult to marblers around the world.

2. Easy? Good marbling isn’t easy. This is a centuries-old art form, practiced by masters around the world. I’ve spent close to 17 years learning this art form, and I’m still learning! It was 10 years of work before we really felt we had fabric that we thought was good enough to sell commercially. Guilds used to put members to death for sharing secrets of marbling.

3. Italy? Not the birthplace of marbling, as Martha stated to a nationwide audience. Turkey is still the home to learn from the masters.

4. Paint brushes? We don’t use no stinkin’ paint brushes! Horse hair, at least! And we make ouor own!

5. Methyl cellulose? Martha stated it was fine to use, no problems, but she managed to ignore the warning that comes on the back not to inhale the stuff. Most practicing marblers use carrageenan, a natural seaweed found in many of our processed foods.

6. Recipes? Granted, it was a five-minute segment, but if you are going to encourage people to marble, as least reference recipes for an alum bath and the carrageenan bath. IT’S NOT JELLO! and a marbling bath can be very temperamental, depending on temperature and humidity.

7. Tools? Sheesh, Martha, we marblers make all our tools, and it’s time-consuming. Just because you have toothpicks and pins doesn’t mean the tools are cheap – either in price or measurements. It took us several years to collect the information and successfully make a bouquet comb.

8. Patterns? Martha, you used a toothpick to swirl a few drops of paint, and you told Meredith she was doing fine. Do you remember that Meredith disagreed with you? You didn’t lay the paper correctly, and you certainly didn’t do any of the really amazing patterns that can be had by beginners.

9. Crafts? Martha, you showed lots of applications, but bottom line? None of them were great examples of what can truly be done with marbling. At least you could have had great products.

10. How many pages? Oh, you the queen of how-to books, don’t you realize just how many books are available on marbling? Books, not pages. Art, not craft. Love, not money.

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