Marbling is a technique of floating paint on top of a gel, making a pattern and then transferring the paint onto the final piece. It can be done on paper (the traditional form), fabric, wood or anything that has a porous surface.
The art of marbling (or marbleizing) was started in the 1100’s, either in Turkey or Persia, though the earliest marbled papers still in existence are Turkish ones from the 1400’s. They were used for decorative purposes, and also as a background for official documents and signatures, to prevent erasure and forgery. The art was taken to Western Europe by the crusaders, and by the 1600’s, France and the Netherlands had become well known for the quality of their papers. Their marbling became an essential part of bookbinding, with the papers being placed on the inside covers of all fine books, which is still one of the main uses of marbling today. The intricate patterns of the papers were used to cover the folds, strings, and glue marks of the bindings, and also to serve as an aesthetic transition from the dark leather covers to the white pages inside. The marblers’ guilds were separate from the bookbinders’ guilds, who were forever spying on the marblers, trying to discover the techniques of marbling to avoid the high cost of their papers. So for centuries, the marblers often had to do their work at night in secret laboratories, behind locked doors, and hardly anyone could hope to learn the art unless he was born into a marbling family. Even then, most apprentices weren’t trusted with all the marbling formulas until they were into their 30’s or 40’s.
I have developed my techniques with the aid of the well known marbling expert Galen Berry from Marble Art. Most of my work is done on the disks you see below however I have also done bowls and vases. The wood simply becomes the art canvas for my designs. There are many more examples in the Tea Light Gallery.