Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Beginning of a New Series

With my playing with sheers coming to an end, I needed to delve into a new area to explore.  Luckily, I had purchased a DVD by Jo Fitsell and had taken on marbling fabric.  It is fun and yields very interesting results.  I will say however, that it is time and prep intensive.  First I hand dyed fabric in a variety of colors.  Then I ripped the fabrics to the correct size, soaked them in a solution of alum and iron them.  Next I prepared the medium that you float the paints on and finally I mixed the paints with water.  Then the fun begins.  The actual marbling is very zen and gratifying.  Once you finish and hang the pieces to dry, you have to wait at least a day.  Careful rinsing of the fabrics is required and some more hanging to dry.  If you like the results then you can iron up the fabrics and use them.  If they need something else, then you marble a second layer of paint on them.  Rinse and iron again.  So, this is not something I took on in small bursts - it's too clean up intensive for that.  I made a big batch and spent the better part of a day each time I tried it.  This reduced the amount of time needed for clean up.  I am all about efficiency when it comes to cleaning.  So here is the first of what will be many of my quilts using marbled fabrics.
The marbled pieces were various shades of purple and blue violet.  Then I marbled them with a variety of Golden fluid acrylics mixed with water.  I made a bunch of fabrics and once I was done I spread them out all over the family room floor to see what looked good with what.  That was a lot of fun.  I hadn't really planned anything so it was kind of interesting what looked good together and how I would cut them and piece them together.

I used some King Tut variegated cotton thread and quilted it sparingly.  I tried to keep the lines pretty organic like the marbling.  Each thread was pulled to the back with a needle and tied off.  I like how the transparent paints allow us to see the texture from the low water immersion dyes beneath.

Here is a close up of some of the marbling and you can see the textures coming through.

Just for good measure here is the third piece of marbled fabric.  The whole center panel was mounted on a piece of hand dyed cotton.  the color was a mixture of turquoise, Cayman Island green and black that I mixed up just for this piece.

So hopefully my first paragraph hasn't scared you from trying this.  It is definitely worth the effort and With the batch I am currently working on I plan on having fabric to play with well into the colder months.  Which is why summer is so great - it lets us get messy and spend the day playing so that we can reap the rewards of our efforts for a good long while.

Thanks for stopping by to see what I am up to.  Feel free to leave a comment and keep an eye open for my upcoming pieces.  Have a great day!


  1. beautiful- i love marbling

  2. Claude, like you, I just started experimenting with some marbling. I think I have been to every google reference in the web by now. The set-up with the methylcellulose bed is complicated enough that, as you discovered, you really want to give it an entire day. But let me suggest that you get the Suminagashi kit from Dick Blick and see how you like it. It's very easy to set up since it only involves water and doesn't even require washing out afterwards. It takes a surprising amount of ink to get results, but once you get the hang of it, it's a technique with its own look. I think you can graduate to Pelican inks which are generaally available and will offer you many more color choices. If you want it, for those open zones, you can get a little bottle of extender from Pro Chem. If you try it, let me know how it goes.

  3. Claude, they are fabulous pieces. They somehow remind me of ultrasounds, views of various floaty inner organs and/or babies!!! Very organic. Just gorgeous, and worth the work!

  4. These are beautiful pieces! They may be labor intensive, but the end result has to be worth it! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Beautiful! Congratulations!