Sunday, May 26, 2013

Marbled paper (Process), book-making and a pretty flower

I've done some more marbling and made a few books since I last posted. I've been trying to figure out how to make the beautiful peacock pattern. My attempts with a homemade double-tooth comb are less than satisfactory. I've come pretty close by using two homemade rakes, passing them back and forth next to each other while moving the combs through the size to cause the nails to cross paths back and forth. I got that idea after seeing a small illustration from the 1800s of something similar in Progress of the Marbling Art by Joseph Halfer. I also skimmed the book Marbled Paper: Its History, Techniques and Patterns by Richard Wolfe, which had some good historical information but I felt it lacked any concrete recommendations for making patterns and what types of paint to use.
Here are the two "rakes" to the left of the size. To make these, I hammered nails about 2" apart into the thin edge of a ~1.5" wide strip of wood (~1/4" thick), and attached a kind of wire handle to the back of each piece to help me hold and manipulate it back and forth as I drag it through the size.
Below is the finished paper (on the right), plus some purple and blue blobs on another paper. I love the uncombed blobs as much as I love making patterns with combs and rakes.
This one is about as close as I've come so far in technical execution to the Peacock pattern, but I don't like the colors:
Then there's the "American" which I read about in The Ultimate Marbling Handbook by Diane Maurer-Mathison. I like how this one looks. There are several steps with rakes and combs, but it's not too hard to execute (this was still wet when I took this photo):
On the right is another 'American' and on the left is another attempt at the Peacock design. 
I love the vibrant colors in this orange and blue one. I especially love the part on the left side with the blobs of orange floating on the blue.
These two are actually the backs of marbled designs - these were made by fully submerging the paper after laying it down to captured the marbled design. The paint on the sides that had not been covered by paper seeped onto the back of the papers and formed these wonderful colorful designs. In both cases I liked the finished result of the back more than I liked the initial design on the front.
This was the front of that one above on the left:
I love the vibrant blue in this one. This has gray and silver paint and black paint. Blue was added last, so the silver and black were pushed inward to form the veins. The blue is an airbrush paint so it spreads a lot.
The below (the part on the right) was made using a small bundle of broomstraw dipped into a bit of paint and then flicked and spattered onto the size on top of other colors that had been dripped on with an eyedropper. Flicking the paint is really messy and gets all over the place so cover your walls and appliances accordingly.
Here are two more papers I made. I love the bold colors.

I made some book cloth out of fabric from my stash, then marbled some papers to match the colors.
These books were all the same size: 5" tall x 3.5" wide. I found some pretty ribbons at a scrapbook store and started putting ribbons in all the books. This one was dark blue, black and gray/silver stripes. The stripes looked nice on the book running vertically and I marbled some paper to match the color scheme of the fabric.
I used a pretty green ribbon on this one. The ribbon has a light blue edge.
When I bought this fabric I grabbed it as a fat quarter from a pile, only seeing the colorful lines and floral pattern on black. I did not see the cat until I opened up the fabric to iron it out to make a book cloth from it. I sent this one to my niece since she likes cats.
My next book project will be to make an art journal from scratch. I need to select the fabric for the book cloth and decide which papers to use inside. But first I'm going to work on this quilt, Patriot's Puzzle, that I designed and cut fabrics for last summer. I put it back on the design wall today and it's time to sew it together and figure out a border.
Here is a lovely flower I saw this week:

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