Mar 20 2014 · 0 comments · Blog, experiments in marbling, marbling, marbling tools, technique, process, silk ·

Exploring and Experimenting Followup

Phase Three:

Another dip with wine red loosely swirled to try to tone down the magenta from dip two. Meh.  Not crazy about this one.  Set it aside and maybe I’ll get a flash of inspiration about what to do with it.




I really like this one.  Third dip with light green and light blue.  Definitely gave it kind of a “fern” feel I think.




The jury is still out on this one.  It’s not what I was going for, but it’s growing on me.  Added the dark purple in an attempt to fuse it together.  Looking at it now, I probably shouldn’t have used that bright yellow.




Aaannnddd… my favorite.  Definitely going to do this technique again with other colors. I did a final dip with more dark indigo blue swirled and pushed into loose flower bloom shapes.  Really pretty!




I did try some silver on top of the purple lacy one but it didn’t show up at all so I’m leaving that one alone.  I might embellish it with some handpainted filigree kind of linework.  Or not.  I’m not sure yet.

I’ll be using these DecoArt paints a lot more!  I like what’s happening.

Mar 12 2014 · 0 comments · Blog, experiments in marbling, marbling, marbling tools, technique, process, silk ·

Exploring and Experimenting

I’m playing around with some new paints, DecoArt So-Soft fabric paint that doesn’t require heat setting (one less step!) and doesn’t leave a residue on the fabric so the sheen and softness that makes silk… well, silky… isn’t compromised. They come in a rainbow of gorgeous colors and they’re working pretty well except that they stop floating after two or three colors are laid down on the size. I want to see what happens when I over marble two or even three times to get more depth and richer colors.

Phase One: Plain white 8 mm and 5 mm habotai.  Left:  Orange, scarlet and yellow pushed into veins and lines by topping with soft peach stones, then pulled into loose scallops.  Center: Two shades of red with black loose freehand swirl (red looks pink).  Right: Sienna and brown raked diagonally.


Below: Three shades of purple/lilac combed into peacock pattern. (hard to see here but my peacock pattern always comes out kind of wobbly and distorted.  Not sure what I’m doing wrong, but even wobbly distorted peacock pattern still looks pretty.)


Phase Two: The sienna and brown overmarbled with chocolate brown, more sienna, and purple raked diagonally in the opposite direction.  I feel like this is starting to take on kind of a botanical look. I’m thinking of adding a moss green and/or turquoise blue combed into leaf-fern shapes.




Red and black overmarbled magenta and scarlet along with more wine red.  Not sure about this one. Where do I go from here?  Would another layer be too much?




Orange and scarlet scallops overmarbled with blue, purple, and a darker melon color.  The orange became more cinnamon brown which is nice.  The melon is feeling a little obnoxious.  I want to fuse the whole thing together, but how?




Purple peacock overmarbled with the same color combo combed into a peacock pattern again. Very pretty, like lilac lace.  Giving some thought to a finishing layer of subtle silver swirls.




I didn’t take a Phase One picture of this one but it started out dyed a pale aqua color, then marbled with 3 shades of blue freehand swirled.  Overmarbled with large stones of 2 deeper blues loosely swirled that look like large indigo flowers.  You can see the places where the pattern was broken at top center and lower left corner where the fabric creased as I lay it down but I’m not too upset about it.  It adds some interest and dimension and I think I’ll hit it with one more layer to camouflage those flaws a little bit.  I’m really liking this one.




Phase Three to come…

Apr 10 2011 · 0 comments · Blog, marbling tools, technique, process ·

Back to Square One

It’s been a while – life has gotten in the way of my creative pursuits, but my last session was complete futility.  I was fighting the process all the way.  My paint wouldn’t float properly, the patterns were breaking up, lines were fuzzy and overall completely frustrating.  I dumped the size, cleaned the tank thoroughly, went out and bought new bottles of paint and resolved to begin all over again.  I reviewed Golden Acrylics’ manufacturer recommendations on mixing paint for marbling.  I’ve been conferring with Laura Sims of who has been incredibly patient and helpful.  (I highly recommend her book, The Weekend Crafter: Easy and Elegant Projects for Paper and Fabric).

All of this has reinforced to me the fact that this marbling art looks deceptively easy – but there is a learning curve and I’m just at the beginning.  I’m so eager to create beautiful patterns and wearable art, but it may not happen in time for any summer art shows this year.  Maybe Christmas?  One step at a time…

Feb 16 2011 · 0 comments · Blog, dyeing, dyeing tools, technique, marbling, marbling tools, technique, painting, painting tools, technique, process, silk ·

Trial and Error – The Errors Can Be More Fun!

Yay!  I think I’ve solved the problem of washed-out marbling color; my size was too thin.  I’ve mixed up a 10-gal. batch of methocel and put it in the trough, ready to alum treat and over-marble some failed scarves.  I got some beautiful 16 mm habotai fabric to cut.  I’m thinking some larger square scarves or even shawls… this is a gorgeous fabric with weight and drape and it’ll be stunning, I just know it!

I stretched a scarf and did a free-form dye painting experimenting with salt and alcohol techniques that actually turned out quite nice.  Daring myself to be more loose, more experimental.  The dye painting process is so forgiving.  I don’t have to worry that it just doesn’t look like a gardenia.  Which is incredibly liberating.

When I want it to look like a gardenia, I can turn to my fabric paints.  I’ve gotten a set of Jacquard Dyna-Flo paints which are extremely fluid and respond very much like dye, and the colors are amazing, so I’m excited to give those a try.  Thinking along the lines of a 60’s psychedelic posterior style design.  I remember making puff letters and Peter Max-ish doodles on my Pee-Chee folders in school 40 something years ago… how can it have been that long?

Anyway, I’ve dabbled my toes in the water long enough – I’m plunging in now!  CANNONBALLLLLLLL!!!!

Feb 10 2011 · 0 comments · Blog, marbling tools, technique, process, silk ·


I’ve been continuing to pursue the marbling technique and running into all sorts of technical problems.  First and foremost, after seeking the advice of those more experienced and knowledgeable than I am, I’ve come to the conclusion that carageenan (size made from powdered Irish moss) isn’t working for me.  It takes such a short time for it to become unstable and unusable, it’s just not practical for me when I may go days between marbling sessions.  My colors are dispersing too much and I’m not achieving the rich saturated color that I want.

My next phase of experimentation will be using methocel, which is a cellulose thickener that stays stable much longer and doesn’t end up smelling like month-old fishbowl water (no, seriously – that’s what the carageenan smelled like after a few days!).  I’ll try the colors I have currently on the methocel and see what happens.  If the colors are still too washed out, then I’ll get a couple of tubes of the highly recommended Golden fluid acrylics.  Fortunately, Michael’s actually carries these.  In the meantime, I’m turning my attention to silk painting with dye and fabric paint after checking out a couple of books at the library and getting all kinds of inspired.

Marbling is put on hold.  I need to get a brush in my hand!