7/17 was a horrific day for our country and for Louisianians. As a native of Baton Rouge and presently living a few miles outside of the city, our community was shattered to learn the news of three of our local policemen, and three others (one gravely) wounded by the cowardly actions of a lone gunman. Having friends whose husbands are policemen and FBI agents, I along with our entire state have embraced the color blue to honor the fallen and those who continue to serve. The state has turned buildings and fields blue, blue ribbons and wreaths are displayed on mail-boxes and trees, porch lights are blue and everyone is donning their blue outfits and accessories. Blue has really been the color of support and solidarity for our city.
And, it just so happens I’m working with a bride who has selected various shades of blue for her wedding colors!
The bride will be getting married out-of-state at a very small and private ceremony; however, the reception will be at the home of her parents following the nuptials. This event will be less formal since it will be outside and will incorporate geometric and organic design elements found in nature.
We decided to use a hand-marbled paper for the invitation linings to bring in her wedding colors. Because of a time constraint and the large number of invitations going out, we decided to select one marbled paper and have it reproduced for the linings (which is still in production!)
While there are tons of ways to marbleize paper, I have a certain method I have found to work well for me. I still consider myself a novice paper marbler and learn new tricks and techniques each time I have a session. I highly recommend you watch some YouTube tutorials if you’ve never attempted paper marbling.
The first step is to create the size which will suspend the paints. The recipe I use is 6 tablespoons of Carrageenan Seaweed powder blended with 3 gallons of distilled water. I pour a few cups of water into my mixer and add 1 tablespoon at a time of the powder and blend until smooth. I add the remaining water, stir well and pour the batches into a 5 gallon bucket. I usually refill my empty water jugs with the mixture and place in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. The size needs to cure to properly suspend the colors.
Next, I prepare the paints by thinning to a milk-like consistency with distilled water. The most difficult part of the marbling process is finding the right paint consistency and disbursement ability for each session. There are so many factors that contribute to the success of paper marbling including the temperature of the environment, pigments in the paints, order of placing the colors onto the size, etc. There are some tricks that can be used to help disperse the paints, like adding ox-gall to the paints, among other things.
Once the size is cured and looks transparent, pour it into a large, shallow tray. The tray needs to be larger than the paper size you’ll be marbling. You’ll then need to skim the top of the size using thin strips of newspaper to prepare the surface tension.
The fun part begins when you start dropping the paint onto the surface of the size and watching it spread into circular shapes. The paints should be layered onto of each other in a random or systematic pattern depending on the finished look you want for your marbling. You can use small paint brushes, droppers or skewers to drop the paint.
Next, you rake the surface of the size with various combs which can be made from cardboard and toothpicks, or wood and nails. Raking pulls the paints creating lovely one-of-a-kind designs. The further apart the picks are, the larger the design will be.
Finally, the paper (which is pre-treated with an Alum solution to aid in the paint’s adherence) is gently rolled onto the surface and immediately picks up the floating paint. It is gently lifted out of the bath, rinsed with clean water and hung to dry with clothespins. The remaining paint will need to be skimmed off the size to marbleize the next sheet. The best type of paper to use for paper marbling is 100% cotton paper as it absorbs beautifully. Cut Card Stock has a few cotton papers suitable for marbling.
For the actual invitations, we chose Crane Lettra Pearl White Paper and envelopes. A geometric pattern was letterpressed in rose-gold and the text, which was a combination of calligraphy and block lettering, was letterpressed in a dark navy. The suite is still in productions therefore I don’t have photos of the finished work, but hopefully you’ll get a sense of how it is all coming together.
Thank you for viewing my post and remember to thank all those who bravely serve and protect our cities especially during this season of blue.