Meet the “Marblers” & its relation to Graphic Design

As one of many people who have experimented with the tradition of paper marbling in their kitchens, you may have been on the people who has received my marbled paper gifts or cards or you have seen my stack of experiments excitedly shared with you in class. I was so excited to see marbling as the identity for the OFFSET graphic design conference in Dublin earlier this year!

Check out this article and video to see exactly what I mean and I bet you will be excited too even if you have never done any marbling!

CB Creative Bloq: http://www.creativebloq.com/branding/offset-identity-marbling-41411298

Now, I am taking my second paper marbling workshop at the “Marbling Festival” at Bookbarnkat Studios here in Florence. The first one was a quick pull of two marbling sheets at il Papiro at their factory which were made with oil based paints. This time, I am learning the Turkish Ebru tradition from the master of Ebru for over 40 years, Hikmet Barutcugil. With a small group taking this class, we are getting so much hands on experience and I will have a larger pile of paper marbling to bring home with me! Kath, the owner of Bookbarnkat Studios is friends with Augustino Dessi, a famous mask maker here in Florence. We stopped by his shop on the way to lunch and have gave us a bunch of carnivale masks to experiment with during our marbling workshop! This was an unexpected bonus for the class.

As I am also learning, “marblers” as they are called, are an entirely different network of people and I am getting a chance to meet both traditional and contemporary practitioners. Sure, not all marblers are related to graphic design these days but marbling is a key component to the history of the printed book. The marbling identity at OFFSET shows how traditional techniques are revived and reconstructed for new and exciting applications.

In class, we are learning about ebru origins as well as how to ‘fix’ any issues that arise with pigment spread distance and speed. The paints are water-based but ox gall is the key. I am learning so much and I will share more shortly. I am off to the second day of the workshop and then a lecture by Dr. Jake Benson on Persian And Indian Marbling 15th Through 17th who will be giving us a sneak preview of his research that will be showcased at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY next year. These are the days when I hardly need any sleep! 🙂



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