History of Marbling – Ours, that is….

I’m crafting an article for publicity purposes and thought to post it here. Comments are welcome!

The Art of Marbling

Take a 1950’s cool cat with rolled-up t-shirt sleeves and mix with a nerdy, glasses-wearing wallflower. Mix in an untapped artistic ability in both with a centuries-old guild craft that would put practitioners to death for sharing its secrets. Ferment well with all kinds of fabrics and you have the husband and wife marbling team of Dean and Linda Moran.

Marble-T Design began some 15 years ago when Linda saw a book on marbling and wanted to do some for a quilt. This is typical of Linda – find a book, read it, and then do it. Husband Dean looked for months for supplies to humor her, finally ordering them from the back of one of the marbling books – turns out you can only get carrageenan wholesale if you buy in bulk – like at least a ton….

Dean fixed up the first marbling bath for fabric and was hooked – both exclaimed over the original designs coming out on the fabric, and after practice realized just how bad those first attempts were! Linda would come home from school to find that Dean had spent seven hours marbling fabric and hadn’t even realized where the day had gone.

First attempts at quilts were interesting. Linda went into quilting after a fire that destroyed all her needlework and cross-stitch. Within a year she was developing a fabric stash, typical of devoted quilters. She taught herself through books and television shows (thank you, Sewing With Nancy), and created an original quilt using the marbled pieces.

Linda realized color was an issue for her. For the first four or five years, she only put marbled fabrics with black, thinking that was the only way to show off the colors and patterns. Dean, however, was a natural with color, grabbing paint bottles at random and cropping paint circles with abandon. To her amazement, everything he turned out worked; crazy color arrangements she would never have thought of looked like wild Asian patterns. She slowly started to expand her own color sense, finally mixing marbled fabrics of all textures with all kinds of background fabrics.

Once the two moved to Tucson, Arizona for Dean’s health, their marbling got really serious. Linda taught Dean basic sewing terminology, that a yard is 36 inches by 45 inches, based on a fabric bolt. He learned rotary cutting and adapted to a sewer’s vocabulary. Along the way they had some good mentors: Mary Sue and Bruce, the local Bernina dealers, who financed their machines and gave them their first commercial outlet; Janis and Debby, who let them buy anything wholesale at their fabric store and sold their original pattern kits and designs. Janis was forever saying, what about this fabric? And the two would pretreat it, try it, and be ecstatic with the results. Who knew polyester would have a new life and be a great marbling fabric, after so many quilting purists said it would never work.

To be continued….

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