Where I’ve Been….

As I start doing more marketing and trying to develop more income from my art, I thought I would look back on where I’ve been. Sixteen years ago in the combo bathroom/laundry area on Sleepy Hollow in Vermont, Dean did the first marbling bath. We were so excited with those first few pieces – all of which have since long gone as remnants. We tried some of our first selling to quilt shops (first flyer was copied, color was bad – we knew so little!), and I was using the pieces in quilts with just black. In fact, the first quilt with the marbled pieces was an Attic Window design – learned about 45-degree angles the hard way!

We kept experimenting, with Dean learning about sewing and selvages and straight of grain, and my wondering in amazement how he worked so freely with color. We moved from our small pink hospital pan to a turkey baster tray, and then to a cat litter-sized tray. We discovered that we needed to be able to do fat-quarter sized pieces if we were going to reach the quilt market, but nothing was big enough.

We moved to Tucson, and we had a kitchen counter that was longer, so we tried rigging up a longer tray to try some scarves – mediocre at best. That led to one of our decisions to buy a house. We ordered a plexiglass tray, built a fold-up marbling bench in the garage, had a set-tub put in, and really started learning our craft. We tried all kinds of fabrics – nylon washed right off, satin had to be the cheaper kind, polys marbled wonderfully – despite what people would say about the fabric. We tried all kinds of new combs and patterns, with the idea that if we could perfect the marbling on white cotton, we were really getting somewhere.

We joined our first guild (Wearable Arts Guild of Southern Arizona – made my first garments) and did demonstrations for the local Bernina Sewing Center. Didn’t know enough about marketing at the time to realize we should have had lots of little pieces to sell! Did a “Round-Up” with Bernina and made $150 on small pieces – we thought it was huge. Tried getting a distributor and selling some patterns – lots of interest, but what we found was a misunderstanding about what marbling is – and isn’t. It’s not dyeing fabric. We still are educating people.

Eventually we stumbled into the kinds of combs we needed and started creating more of the traditional patterns. We framed a few pieces and realized we had another great idea here, and we ended up selling some of our lager pieces as framed art, now in a lot of offices and businesses in Tucson.

Then came the idea of a web page….$3000??? You must be joking……

Recent Posts