May 10 2017 · 0 comments · Blog, experiments in marbling, marbling, process ·



Several years ago I took a wonderful marbling workshop during which I was introduced to the Japanese marbling technique of Suminagashi. I bought the set of inks and Photo-Flow but never pursued experimenting with them until now. What I remembered was the sense of almost meditative calm of the process. Beautiful in its simplicity, these complex patterns are formed with only tap water, two paintbrushes, and some ink. I was playing with some different formations and densities; you can keep the patterns more open with fewer concentric rings or wider clear rings, or you can make them almost solid by layering many, many circles. The slightest disturbance of the water surface caused by hand movement or even your breath will send the ink patterns swirling and moving, creating new and unexpected contours. I obviously haven’t done this before – my circles are jagged and uneven, I jostled the water way too much and lacked the control needed for clean patterns but I think I ended up with some very cool pieces!

(This video is 2x normal speed – I wasn’t going this fast!)

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From top left: 1. Multiple ink colors on gold silk. 2. Black ink on red silk (I especially like the way this one turned out) 3. Blue, black ink on a natural colored linen. 4. This one is interesting – multiple colors of ink on silk color blocked in shades of green and gold. I love how the different background colors change the color of the ink. (looks kind of like a map to me) 5. Multiple colors of ink on canvas. 6. Black ink on white silk (very dense – I may have overdone the circles a little bit on this one!)


Jun 20 2014 · 0 comments · Blog, experiments in marbling, marbling, process ·

Marbling Workshop

A few weeks ago I attended a 3-day workshop sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Weavers Guild and taught by Caryl Hancock. Caryl is a wonderful instructor and the other ladies taking the workshop were all so supportive of each other and fun to work with, it was a real pleasure!  This was the first class I’ve taken in many years – I’ve been self taught in my chosen media for the most part except for a couple of adult education pastel classes 30 years ago. A big regret in my life was not getting more art instruction; there’s so much I don’t know… I can dabble and read books and watch Youtube videos only so much before I need someone who has attained a level of proficiency, who has a familiarity with their tools and their art to show me and guide me in ways that I just can’t pick up any other way. And it’s not just the expertise of an instructor, it’s being surrounded by others who are as excited about learning something new as I am that’s so energizing and rejuvenating; new ideas and new approaches that had never occurred to me and opening up doors leading in different directions towards unforeseen results.

It was an incredibly productive three days. I learned a lot. A LOT. I got to immerse myself in the creative process which for me is a way to step outside myself… or maybe go deeper inside myself… I’m not sure how it works but it takes me to a place that’s been healing and sustaining for me since I was very small.

Here are the marbled cotton swatches I did; lots of different techniques as you can see. I learned that I tend toward using the same palette over and over so it was great stretching those boundaries. Color theory isn’t my strong suit so I tend to stick with what I know works but in the workshop where there was nothing to lose, nothing to “ruin” I felt free to play around with colors I otherwise probably never would have used together and I was pleasantly surprised!

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I got to try my hand at suminigashi – a Japanese technique that’s deceptively simple but produces delicate, intricate patterns. This is something I could sit and do for HOURS!  I’ve ordered a kit and can’t wait to get started on experimenting with it.

My marbling has been on hold with the craft show and I’ve got a side project in the works but as soon as I’m able to I’ve got lots of ideas floating around just waiting to be tried!

I’ll be looking out for more classes and workshops available about surface design, color theory and maybe just back to basics drawing! It’s been too long…

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…

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!!!!