Sunday, September 26, 2010

Discoveries of an amateur marbler

When I first took a marbling class in 2008 with Nancy Morains, she provided a bouquet rake so that we could try making that classic pattern. Her bouquet rake (or double rake) was made to fit her tanks perfectly and it seemed almost effortless! Well, the results from the class were far from perfect, but they were recognizable. Here is one that I did in that class - I think the biggest problem with this is the globby paint, not the technique with the rake. Yikes.

Marbling - Bouquet pattern

After that class, I set myself up to do some marbling at home and I have done a lot and even sell some of my papers on Etsy. Alas, I did not buy myself a bouquet rake because I thought I could do it with two passes of the standard rake. That technique, however, never worked very well for me. So I gave up on it for a while. Eventually, I made myself a bouquet rake and still couldn't get it to look right.

I made a substantial effort to improve my bouquet rake technique during my last marbling session. Many papers were terrible and discarded immediately.

Many others were mediocre. I could tell they were a little better, but still wobbly and almost out of control with bouquets of all different shapes and sizes. Like this...

Then I discovered something. I discovered that my bouquet rake made small bouquets! It started working so much better! I had to nearly stand on my head to watch the pattern emerge as I used the rake, to see what was happening and then it all came together - understanding the spacing of the nails was far more important than I realized. This is probably the best example, so far.

As you can see, the bouquets are quite small; but finally, they are nearly consistent in size and shape.

Also, a rather successful Frog's foot pattern too (or thistle pattern?) using the same rake.

I will continue to practice. Also, I may try to make myself another double rake with more spacing. But after all this, I think I made it over a little hump.

If anyone reading this has any advice about making the bouquet pattern, or anything at all to say about it, I would love to hear from you!


india flint said...

these are lovely...i'm faced with the challenge of developing non-toxic plant dyes for marbling, having sworn off using synthetic colours
i might add that i've never achieved that beautiful pattern, either

Made-by-may said...

Your Items are marvellous!!!
Greetings from Germany

by made-by-may

Dymphie said...

love the patterns you achieved. I'm just started marbling myself, so no help from this side...

Cynthia Schelzig said...

what beautiful patterns...gorgeous!

Acornmoon said...

very impressive, I have tried many times and know how many factors go into the end results and how variable those things are.

MyHandboundBooks said...

thanks for all the encouragement!

iNdi@ana, would love to hear more about your efforts finding natural colours for marbling - will you be documenting it on your webstie?

Billie said...


Your papers are beautiful!

Just one someone who has not been to marbling classes, none of them look wrong, they just look beautiful. The first one reminds me of peacock feathers :)

Keep going with the marbling, its gorgeous!

Best wishes

MyHandboundBooks said...

Thank you for the encouragement Billie!

Anonymous said...

I like it when there is a difference in size. In nature there are also differences in feather-sizes. Sorry for my bad English...I like these examples a lot!!
Sandra from the Netherlands.

Unknown said...

well naturally I LIKE the marble with a variety of bouquets!!
David Cameron

MyHandboundBooks said...

thanks Sandra and David :)