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Re: [Marbling] Beware = Being Aware....

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  • Guffey
    Dear Marbling Enthusiasts... I agree that someone who has just learned how to marble should not go out and offer their services as a marbler instructor. It
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 17, 2002
      Dear Marbling Enthusiasts...

      I agree that someone who has just learned how to marble should not go out
      and offer their services as a marbler instructor. It takes quite of bit of
      experience to pass on the art of marbling. The biggest asset is knowing
      what to do when things "just don't work" and how to correct and solve the
      numerous marbling quirks.

      I also have been fascinated by the history of marbling as much as the
      execution itself. When I first started (1976) there was next to nothing
      written about the process, no "how-to" books available. You learned from
      someone else and then tried to perfect the methods yourself. I was
      fortunate enough to be working in a college library and had access to inter
      library loans. I borrowed every book I could find (there weren't many) and
      one that had been written in the 1800's gave a recipe for oxgall. I can't
      remember the exact quote, but it started with the statement that "you should
      find yourself a friendly butcher who would save you the gall bladder of a
      recently butchered steer..." I could just see me going into my local
      Safeway store and making such a request!

      This brings up the next point. How authentic do we need to be to preserve
      the true art of marbling? For years I boiled and strained Irish Moss to
      make my size. Authentic, yes, but straining through panty hose (very
      effective, by the way) is hardly historically correct! Needless to say,
      once blender carrageen became available I never boiled another batch of
      Irish Moss. Early marblers grinded their own pigments, I purchase marbling
      inks already made. I also use acrylics, which are not historically correct.
      If someone out there wishes to make their own colors, there is a store in
      San Francisco which sells pure pigments. You can view their web site at
      www.sinopia.com

      In 1984 I was in London and went to the Victoria and Albert Musuem. In
      their rare book department they had listed marbled papers from Douglas
      Cockerell. I asked if I could see them, and was surprised when I was given
      permission. All I had to do was provide identification. For some reason my
      California driver's license was sufficient! Anyway, they brought out a box
      with about 10 samples. At first I was disappointed because the colors were
      so dull, as compared with current marbling. But then I realized I was
      holding history in my hands and was a bit overwhelmed. It was at this point
      in time I began to appreciate the traditional marbling patterns and not be
      dazzeled by the wild colors and abstract marbling patterns that some people
      do. These modern patterns have their place, and I appreciate their
      creativity, but I am still drawn to the traditional. I love creative
      marbling, I just hope that the traditional will always be around as well.

      It was also on this trip that I contacted Sydney Cockerell and he generously
      allowed me to visit him at his home/studio outside of Cambridge. I was
      still rather new to marbling and didn't realize what an honor was bestowed
      upon me. I watched one of his assistants marbling (the French Boquet
      pattern) and afterwards I bought a set of his marbing inks and he personally
      wrote up the receipt, which I still have (I keep meaning to frame it!).

      Well, I'll get off my soap box for now. I'm glad we have this forum to vent
      our opinons.

      d. guffey
    • irisnevins
      Thanks for the post, Dolores.....I too remember those days. I had NO ONE to teach me in 1978 and would have appreciated ANY instruction no matter how crude. I
      Message 2 of 4 , Aug 18, 2002
        Thanks for the post, Dolores.....I too remember those days. I had NO ONE to
        teach me in 1978 and would have appreciated ANY instruction no matter how
        crude. I had a xerox of that same book,(think it was Woolnough) and DID go
        to my local butcher and got a quart of bile....he thought I was mad!

        I nearly blew up the bottle of gall ....it builds up gases, and the load
        pop I heard when I opened the jar two weeks later, not to mention the
        stink....well, just a funny memory now.

        I get my best Stormont using plastic sqeeze bottles....very traditional,
        right? To give them up would be like going from a washing machine back to a
        scrub board. The old timers would have jumped at the chance to have our
        modern materials and methods.

        The part of maintaining tradition I do feel is important, is to arrive at
        the same look, as closely as possible, not matter how you get there. The
        old papers were amazing....and my main thing is the period from the 1600's
        though late 19th century. I come to this from a love ob books, so what was
        seen on the bindings is my orientation. I do artwork too with marbling, but
        just love getting the room filled with papers that look like the 1820's.

        The bulk of my work is recreating these papers for book restorers, matching
        as well as possible, the old papers.

        Iris Nevins
      • Gail MacKenzie
        Thank you, Jake. I am looking forward to your lecture!! Best wishes, Gail M. [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        Message 3 of 4 , Aug 18, 2002
          Thank you, Jake. I am looking forward to your lecture!! Best wishes, Gail
          M.


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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