The idea of a marbling guild was broached by Polly Fox and Patti Schleicher at
San Francisco. Following the Gathering a number of people were asked by Polly
(by the way is anyone in touch with Polly or does anyone know how to reach her)
to form a committee to consider the idea.
Central to the idea was optional accreditation of teachers. There was never any
thought of accreditation of marblers in general or making accreditation
mandatory. Several conference calls were held but most committee members were so
highly concerned that it not be "elitist", highly fearful of the possibly
divisive results, and the reactions received were so hysterical (we were called,
among other things, "the marbling gestapo") that the committee disbanded and
abandoned the attempt.
I'm certain that no one who was on that committee would ever try again.
Lots of luck, but certainly forget any form of accreditation.
Jake Benson wrote:
> As I recall, the attempt to start a Marbler's Society at the San Francisco
> Gathering was brought up. Unfortunately, this attempt was presented
> together with the idea that this organization should somehow be a
> "Professional Association" for "Accredited Marblers",who would be
> "certified" through a "professional board" (i.e. accredited "Masters", a
> highly subjective, and often abused word in my own opinion).
> The negative reaction to this proposal was passionate and highly charged.
> Many felt that the attempt to "accredit" marbling would dampen creativity.
> The notion that we had to stop "unprofessional" marblers out there in the
> world from teaching other people seemed to me overly paranoid.
> Had the idea been presented without the issue of accreditation, it would
> have likely been more successful. Other organizations such as the Guild of
> Book Workers has broached the issue of accreditation, often put forward on
> the part of professional binders and restorers who want some kind of
> mechanism in place to ensure consistent quality and professionalism. This
> proposal has been met with much the same reaction reaction. In this case,
> Book Artists feel that they would be deemed as "unprofessional", because
> they often employ techniques that might constitute "Book Art" , but don't
> actually do traditional bookbinding.
> If we approach the issue of forming a Marbler's Society, I would advise that
> we should steer clear of this thorny issue of accreditation. A person's
> work speaks for itself. Such an organization should be a focal point ,
> bringing people together with a common interest, not something divisive and
> At that time in San Fransisco, I suggested that the formation of such an
> organization would not only help promote marbling in general, but also help
> someone like myself in researching historic marbling. Given the
> preoccupation with the accreditation issue, the issue I raised was barely
> noticed. Some institutions that have historic pieces in their collections
> are set up to work with academic scholars. The institution in question
> verifies what the person is doing, and then allows them access. Some
> institutions are very restrictive in their policy one example is Dumbarton
> Oaks in Washington DC- you just don't walk in there and ask to look at their
> books. As I'm an "independant" person researching this subject, having some
> kind of organization might help open doors that are otherwise closed.
> Having a Non Profit Organization could clear the way to obatin grant funding
> that would pay for the rights and reproduction fees and issues when
> documenting historical marbling, allowing all of us to view the contents of
> a collection in a digital format. It's expensive, but doable.
> This idea has enormous potential. At the San Francisco gathering, most of
> us didn't have email. That's changed. Applying for Non Profit status would
> allow us to apply for grant funding, and perhaps go on to obtain our own Web
> Server. This way we can mount a comprehensive web site that features
> marbling, individual marbler's pages, a historical catalog of images, and a
> comprehensive bibliography in many languages. It would allow for discussion
> groups and forums like the one we have now, but may even host bulletin
> boards devoted to specific themes and discussions within marbling. For
> example, we could have separate Suminagashi, Fabric marbling, Paper marbling
> forums, or even a Turkish language discussion group, or a "history' bulletin
> At the same time, we might be able to have space on the server to sponsor
> the web pages of individual marblers at a reduced cost. this could allow
> for money to come in and pay for the service, and the money would go to
> marbling, rather than AOL, Compuserve, Microsoft etc....
> Let's develop this idea. If we have something in place by the time of the
> Gathering, we have something to build on for the future.
> Jake Benson
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