3407Re: [Marbling] Commercial on TV
- Jan 22, 2006Did they get permission for the copyright they infringed upon? And will the owner stand up and let us know why they let them use it for this matter of bad taste publicity.It was not me I dont make ties.
Jake Benson <handbindery@...> wrote:
I wanted to let eveyone know that I just watched a new commercial by Partnership for
Drug-Free America that features a marbled tie? A middle-aged man rumages is going
through his closlet when he spots the tie and the narrator implies that the pattern is
psychedelic, and that the man has used drugs in the past.
The Partnership can accept comments about this on their web site:
Well, I've fired off a nice long detailed snarly message after seeing the commercial. I think
they shoudl hear complaints from marblers about how they have made a very poor choice
item is no only a poor choice ot represent psychedelia, it could also hurt retail sales
because people will now incorrectly think that marbling somehow refers to using drugs.
Tell them about your work, and where you retail your goods if appropriate. those who sell
at museum and library gift shops will certainly do much to impress them.
It also made me wonder if it could be determined who made the tie, and if the marbler
even knows that their product was used in the commercial in this way. Are they in
violation of copyright law?
Below is the text of my letter. The views expressed are my own, but do feel free to cut and
paste any of it in a message of your own. this orgnaization has done some pretty stupid
things in the past as a result of their zeal. They once showed an EEG brain monitor of a
dead person (single line, no movement), and sated that "this is what happens when you do
drugs". Physicians across the country were outraged and they suceeded in getting the ad
There is one part of the message that I would like to be able to verify. Years ago when the
NYC supplier TALAS was still owned by the HAAS family, they had a wonderful bit of
marbled paper hanging on the wall of their retail space. They told me it was part of a
paper made for President Reagan's Inaugural album. What I don;t remember is WHO made
that paper. It was a red, white, and blue (of course) combed "American" or something like
that! Can anyone tell me, or does anyone remember? Would this album now be at the
To Whom it May Concern,
I just watched a commercial produced by your organization on the AMC channel in which a
middle-aged man is seen going through his ties in his closet. In the back he spots one
that features a hand-marbled design. The narrator implies that the tie is "psychedelic"
and refers to the fact that the man has used drugs in the past.
I thought that you should know that the art of marbling, as it is known, has a long and
venerable history. Very little of it can be be described as "psychedelic". We do not know
the exact origins of the art, but some think it might have developed in China or Central
Asia. In Japan, a method of floating ink on water survives today and is known as
suminagashi. The oldest examples are found in Imperial manuscripts dating to the Heian
period, the oldest one dates to 1118 AD. It is a copy of the Lotus Sutra, a sacred Buddhist
The art of marbled may have developed along the Silk Road, and a form emerged in the
Muslim world that became very popular. Very rare examples of marbling used in paintings
from India have sold at auction in recent years for over $100,000. In the 16th century,
European travelers, especially Germanic nobility, visited cities like Istanbul, where they
spotted the curious paper in the bazaars, purchased the sheets and had them bound into a
small little book known as an Album Amicorum, an early form of the autograph album.
One such album is currently offered for sale by Ursus Books, a very repsected antiquarian
dealer in New york City, for the modest sum of $350,000.
The association with bookbinding continues and the use of marbled paper for endpapers
and covering material is seen to dramatically increase in the 17th and 18th centuries, after
Europeans learned to make their own papers and mass-produce them. They are found
covering and lining early telescopes as well as musical and scientific instrument cases.
They can be seen as endpapers on and Imperial Grant of Arms from Empress Maria
Theresa. Such artifacts are of course, very valuable and have no association whatsoever
with drug use.
In America, the loans made by the French government to the Continental Congress in
America were written upon marbled paper specially commissioned by Benjamin Franklin.
The paper was masked before it was marbled, so as to leave only a strip of marbled paper
running up the middle. The text of loan agreement was printed twice on both sides of the
sheet in a typeface specially designed by Franklin himself. Once the printed form was
signed a completed by the persons concerned, the document was cut up the middle in an
irregular manner. The two halves of the agreement would match precisely, and the
irregular marbled pattern provided an added layer of security to the contract, as the
pattern would also match perfectly in addition to the cut. This pattern is also
REMARKABLY similar to the tie you feature in your commercial.
Benjamin Franklin's grandson Benjamin Franklin Bache printed early continental bill notes
on marbled paper. It was quickly learned that a marbled design applied to the edge of a
book was also a useful security measure in account bookbinding. If someone removed
pages from an account book, the design on the edge would be interrupted, tipping off to
an observer that it had been tampered with. Nearly every financial institution in the
country came to use such account books in the 19th century, even on into the first half of
Did you know that there is still a division for hand bookbinding at the Government Printing
Office in Washington DC?. Some of the more special leather bound books are still
traditionally marbled along the edge. These deluxe-bound volumes are specially ordered
each year for the Congress and Senate, the Supreme Court, as well as the President.
Today a handful of artist in the US still make traditional marbled papers, and they now also
marble fabric. It became especially popular in the 1980's. Marbled papers are used for by
professional framers for what is called "French matting". It adds a distinctive,
sophisticated look to framed prints. Martha Stewart has featured marblers on her show,
and published an article in her magazine in February last year on making marbled
valentines. Does Martha prpmote drug-use?
A wonderful red white and blue marbled paper was used for a special commemorative
book given to President Ronald Reagan at his inauguration. The design was REMARKABLY
similar to the one on the tie that you featured in your commercial. Today in art classes
across the country, children learn to marble as a classroom activity. Are school teachers
somehow promoting drug use when they teach children to marble?
Because of the strong associations with American History and the venerable art of hand
bookbinding, marbled ties like the one featured in your commercial are quite naturally
sported as professional attire by men and women who work as rare book librarians,
curators, conservators, and preservationists. I have no doubt that you will observe a
veritable sea of marbled scarves and ties, not a rock concert, but at the annual meeting of
the American Library Association, The American Institute for Conservation of Art and
Historic Artifacts, the Association of American Archivists, as well as just about any
antiquarian book dealer. Are these upstanding professionals promoting drug use if they
wear marbled apparel and accessories?
In conclusion, the insinuation that the marbled design shown on a tie was "psychedelic' is
extremely offensive to the good people who wear such ties on a regular or even occasional
basis, many of whom work in libraries and museums with rare books, archives, and
artifacts where one encounters historic marbled designs. However, even more importantly
is the fact that you do a distinct disservice to the people who continue to struggle to
perpetuate the historic tradition of marbling. Many sell their handmade products for a
living at respectable institutions. It is not a highly lucrative endeavor, as it can take many
years to develop skill and consistency. Aside from retail apparel, marbled papers are still
used for bookbinding and restoration all over the country, including many respectable rare
book libraries, museums, and institutions.
It is sad that we must necessarily expect that many Americans will now forgo hand-
marbled products made by American craftspeople because they will think they have
something to do with using drugs. The only reason they will come to this conclusion is
not because of any FACTS whatsoever, but only because of your stupid commercial! Your
poor choice of an object to feature as "psychedelic" in your commercial will have
unforeseen repercussions Next time you want to feature drugs in someone's past, why use
something MORE AUTHENTIC??? Like a TIE-DYED T-SHIRT!!! Or an old 60's psychedelic
To me, your portrayal of the man going through his closet seemed at first as if he was
going to wear a tie he bought in 1985 at an upscale craft gallery, not something off the
street in 1965 Haight-Ashbury, much less a rock concert! I really doubt that many hippies
were wearing these ties, as from what I remember, men swore off ties much like women
burned their bras. If you wore a tie you were definitely "establishment". Only "squares"
wore ties. If you study the apparent trends, you must necessarily concede that that the
marbled tie is predominantly a form of 1980's YUPPIE ATTIRE!!!!
It is also interesting that some are exploring marbling as a unique form of art therapy for
children, terminally ill, mental patients, and the elderly. The results have been initially
very promising and noteworthy. Even the act of marbling is shown to cause a person to
become very relaxed, happy, and satisfied. Since your organization has taken it upon
yourselves to produce such a commercial, I think it only fitting that you should studio art
programs as alternatives to using drugs for kids! You should sponsor studies to see if
marbling would be a useful form of art therapy in drug prevention and rehabilitation
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