Marbled Art – A Passion for Paper

I’ve always been passionate about marbled and hand-printed papers: I can vividly recall attempts to transport multiple rolls of the stuff intact in an over-stuffed rucksack on my very first trips to Italy two decades ago (yes, others brought back wine, I brought back sheets of paper). Back then, I would painstakingly cover sketchbooks, photo albums, boxes etc. with the least crumpled bits of my treasures once I’d returned home; these days, I send them off to bookbinder and marbler Christopher Rowlatt to be made up into gorgeous sketchbooks to my own spec or simply buy my art books from his range of hand-marbled cartridge paper filled works of art. Whilst I still have a compulsion for buying other kinds of sketchbooks whenever something catches my eye, they remain largely unused as I just love these marble-covered books and fill one after another with my sketches.

One of my all-time favourite marblers is Jemma Lewis who has a marbling studio down in Wiltshire where she is busily pushing the boundaries of what the skill can be used for and with an ever broadening range of base papers and finishes.  From her Spring Newsletter, I have learned about a number of recent projects that she has undertaken, one of which was to design a poster for the Leeds Print Festival which involved the text of the poster being printed to a sheet of marbling paper before it was marbled to reveal the resist print beneath: you can watch a video, here, of how this was done. Another project saw one her marbles being used as a headboard by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen for the “This Morning” programme, which just goes to show how versatile marbling can be!

Helen White oil painting

I, for one, have been using marbled paper and other hand-made prints in my home interior for years: here are a couple of Helen White Artlampshades that I covered some time ago using paper brought back from Venice. The more muted marble patterns work well in a living space such as mine which is straddled somewhere between vintage and contemporary, injecting something of the smoky essence of a reading room from a bygone era to any scheme where books are a feature, as they are in my home. The second paper mimics the Piazzetta facade of the Doges Palace  –  the strong monochrome reproduction of the gothic loggia works perfectly in my living environment amidst a variety of other textiles and colours. Both lampshades were straightforward to make, starting from bog-standard fabric shades and using water-based glue (to avoid creating a fire-hazard!) to attach the paper. The resulting lampshades have provided me with years of enjoyment in a way that I doubt anything mass-produced for the high street would have done and I find my eyes are constantly drawn to the pattern in these papers and the multitude of other marbled books that are strewn around my living space because they really are a thing of beauty.

At heart, I’m basically an avid collector of these unique and beautiful sheets of paper which, for the most part, are intended for some future project or other that is yet to be conceived; and, frankly, it matters not to me whether I have anything particular in mind when I add them to my collection as I just have to have them!  Here’s a selection I brought back from Florence last year – two of which are probably destined to be used to cover a large portfolio for storage of my drawings and Limited Edition Prints.  Below are two complimentary papers in neon brights sourced from Marbled Goods on Etsy and which came to me all the way from Indiana – the sheets are much smaller than average but they are sooo stunning that I expect to have them made up into a sketchbook (one design front, one on the back) very soon. The neon colours of these give them a slightly more contemporary feel but I, personally, regard all marble patterning to be as contemporary and fresh today as it has ever been and it is great to see it regaining some popularity and exposure.

In short (as you can tell) I’m a fan and so its very gratifying to hear from people like Jemma Lewis that they are being kept so busy with new projects.

Jemma Lewis Marbling and Design are based in Melksham, Wilshire where you are invited to call in to the workshop.

Christopher Rowlatt Bookbinder and Marbler is based in Presteigne and is a regular at Art in Action, which is where I discovered him many years ago!

About Helen White

Helen White is a full-time professional artist (painting moments of everyday radiance in oil on canvas), a photographer, fabric designer and published writer with several blogs, on various topics, to her name. Light on Art is her art-related blog sharing recent artworks and inspiration.Living Your Whole Life is a health and lifestyle blog sharing all the many highlights of learning how to transform your health and wellbeing (spiralling out of ten years recovering from fibromyalgia). Spinning the Light is a very broad-based platform of self-discovery where she explores the everyday alchemy that is available to all beings just as soon as they open up to life's fullest potential.Helen White Photography is a portal for sharing her Fine Art photographs which are available as Limited Edition prints.
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One Response to Marbled Art – A Passion for Paper

  1. Pingback: Birds, Bees and Candlelight | helenwhiteart

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