Making Space

Antonio I am a HUGE fan of Spanish marbler Antonio Vélez Celemín's work--so much so that I have made a promise to myself to either visit him in his studio or take a class from him in the next year or two. He knows this. I've emailed him about my obsession appreciation of his talents (and between reading his blog and our email exchanges, he seems like one of the nicest people). He recently published a book, Marbling, from Endleaves to Artwork, that I am tempted to buy even though I can't read a single word of it because it is in Spanish...but the photos of his work in the book alone are enough to make me swoon and therefore worth the price to have it shipped from Spain. If there was one example of his incredible talent that solidified my utmost respect for him as a marbler, it was when he marbled the edges of 4,000 books for a client...where all the edges put together created a single design image while at the same time were individually appealing. FOUR THOUSAND BOOKS, PEOPLE!!! Yeah. Like I said, TALENTED. (You MUST read his account of the story here.)

I am particularly fond of his work that utilizes the white space around his designs. For the most part, marblers abhor a blank spot. We tend to marble from edge to edge, top to bottom, covering in full whatever surface area we are marbling. But Antonio is more than happy to have his designs sit in emptiness. (I'm hesitant to use the word, "emptiness," as it implies something is lacking...which is clearly not the case. Perhaps it would be better described as "floating on air.")

(c) Antonio Vélez Celemín

It took me a long time to, first, become comfortable with the idea of SPACE on my paper, and secondly, to have the courage to mimic (copy?) his designs. And of course there was the whole process of figuring out HOW he did what he did. I knew a dispersant had to be involved but which one, how much, and when and how it was applied was something I was going to have to work out.

Six months ago, I finally found the courage to began experimenting with this design concept but wasn't happy with the results, become frustrated, and gave up. But yesterday something happened. I saw the process differently for some reason. I tried a different approach, a different formula, and was in a better mental state (in other words, more patient!) and after about 10 sheets of trial and error, THESE came out of my bath:

Barb Version

Barb Version

Now, these are no where NEAR the caliber of Antonio's talent...but I am inspired by this breakthrough and I'm excited to see where it will take me.

I encourage you to hop on over to Antonio's blog and check out his work. His most recent post is an excellent write up of his evolution as a marbling artist and he has posted some of his most impressive pieces (or "eye candy," as I like to call them!).