It's Been A Long Time

John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, N.C. And I have no excuses. My priorities shifted a bit over the summer and blogging just fell to the bottom of the list. At first I felt bad...and then I realized I don't regret doing any of the other things that were higher priorities--like gardening (my veganic garden is going gangbusters), marbling, cooking, entertaining, hiking/kayaking/surfing with my mom while she was visiting for a week, going to outdoor concerts, and spending A LOT of time on an exciting new project I hope to be able to talk about soon!

What prompted me to blog again was the wonderful time I just had at the Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, N.C. I took a week-long marbling and book making class that was outstanding. The entire experience was nothing but positive: I loved the Folk School grounds; the administration was easy to work with; my instructors were top notch; and the participants in the class were so friendly and had wonderful senses of humor! I'm not sure I could have planned a better curriculum or hoped for a better result. I'm walking away from this experience feeling more confident in my marbling and bookmaking skills...from troubleshooting and having a deeper understanding of both practices to experimenting and learning new techniques. I feel like I've gained 20 years of experience in one week...and I have since both my instructors have that many years (and then some) under their belts in their respective fields.

I'm breaking this story up into four posts, each with their own photo gallery: one on marbling, one on bookbinding, one showing off the works of art created by participants, and one with miscellaneous stuff.

I'll start with the marbling. Here are just a few marbling highlights:

  • I tried suminagashi for the first time and loved it! Suminagashi is a Japanese style of marbling where you work on a plain water bath with watercolors. I would argue it's nothing like ebru, the Turkish style of marbling I do where you work on a carrageenan bath with acrylics. The best way to describe the difference is by saying suminagashi is to ebru what surfing is to water skiing...both happen on water and that's about where the similarities begin and end. I see suminagashi becoming a part of my practice, especially if I purse bookmaking.
  • I was so inspired by the other people in class. Some came not having marbled ever in their lives while others had as much experience as me (and maybe even more). It was a butt-load of fun and incredibly energizing to watch the new people fall head-over-heals for the practice and ooooooh and aaaaaaah the same way I did the very first time I was exposed to marbling. And I loved watching the experienced students at work--I often found myself wondering over to their tanks and looking over their shoulders as they worked their magic. So inspiring.
  • I was given permission, much to my relief, to give up trying to find the perfect red acrylic paint to marble with. It doesn't exist. BUT MARBLING ON RED PAPER IS SPELLBINDING. I'm ordering a ton of red paper as you read this.
  • My Ah-ha Moment: Every professional marbler has his/her way of doing things. The more classes I take from different artists, the more exposure I get to these differences, and the more OPTIONS I have for incorporating or ignoring these differences into my own practice. This is what is going to make me the best marbler I can be.

Now on to the photos. I've also added a few instructional videos at the end of the post for those interested in seeing how marbling works or those students wanting  a refresher. At the very least, check out the first one (Flame pattern) where Pat, our marbling instructor for the week, pays me one helluva compliment that's had me on cloud nine for DAYS (and probably for the next few months).

Tomorrow I'll be back with the bookmaking write-up and photos!


(To manually advance the slideshow, hover over the photo and a box will pop up. Click on the square button in the middle and the slideshow will stop automatically advancing. Then click on the arrow buttons to move forward or backward at your own pace.)