A week of rain…it just pours and pours. Nowhere we can really go on days like these, and not much we can do on a dark, gloomy boat. I sat in the crepuscular shadows and stitched a tiny sailboat against a roiling sea of marbled green and blue canvas. It captures the feeling of being alone on a wild sea, perfectly…
We marble our own fabric; this is a piece we made for an exhibition in early 2014. It was then that I figured out one good way of combining marbled fabric with hand embroidery…rather than try and tackle the intricacies of the marbling patterns, themselves, I try to see the print as an environment for some small motif…a hut on an island, a cat hunting a rabbit in tall grass, gold fish in a lily pond… It works well, and I love doing these small designs, as the embroidery is finished in a few hours, very satisfying to start and complete a project on a single day!
Kris requested this piece; he wants to frame it and hang it next to his chart table. The sailboat is just under 5 cm. (2 in.) high. Worked in split stitch, couching,satin, and french knots.
Working on “Stage 2” of my marbled and stuffed Flying Banana fish. (Musa volatilis of the Exocoetidae family, as a matter of fact, and not related to J.D. Salinger’s Banana Fish (spp. A Perfect Day For ~)
Today I painted the tails and stitched them to the stuffed bodies. Ran out of small black buttons, so not all of them have eyes, yet.
With every step the number of fish lessens, as trial-and-error ‘messes’ one or two up and I have to put them aside (to fix later…but it won’t be in time for the Throwing Stones for Fun & Profit exhibition). Started with 17, but I’m down to 12 or 13, now.
Also, I have too many blue fish.
Coming next: a couple of fins (just the dorsal and anal fins), and a pair of iridescent ‘wings’ (pectoral fins). Better get cracking…showtime is just nine days away…
Returning after a hiatus of many years to an old love of ours, marbling is a very traditional craft that involves floating drops of paint onto a liquid substrate, and scribing into or combing these droplets into several time-honoured patterns…as well as experimenting with new ways to manipulate and pattern the paint. When the pattern is ready, paper or fabric is lowered onto the floating design, and virtually all of the paint transfers to the printing surface. Each print is unique and impossible to replicate.
Throwing Stones for Fun and Profit is an exhibition and sale of marbled works produced during our 2013 marbling sessions—conducted during the rainy season (because you need lots of water to marble), on the exposed deck of our houseboat, in the Northern Territory’s Darwin Harbour.
Marbled fabrics and papers will appear on the covers of our handbound journals, as framed one-of-a-kind prints, as artist’s books, as quires or cahiers, blank cards, collages, and soft sculpture ornaments.
Opens Friday, 6th of December 2013 at 6p.m.
Darwin Visual Arts Association
56 Woods Street,
Darwin CBD, NT
Nibbles served, with licensed bar, at the Opening.
Kris Larsen is an epic adventurer and has written 4 books about his experiences. He is also a bookbinder, painter, woodcarver, boat-builder and puts together crazy homemade bicycles to keep himself amused. He has been marbling, on and off, since he was introduced to the craft by his wife in 2000.
Nat Uhing taught herself to marble (using oil paints) in 1996—with amazingly good results, considering that her only reference works on the subject were a picture book about Venice, and a very terse description of the craft in an old Encyclopædia Britannica. She introduced Kris Larsen to the craft, and he quickly moved into working with acrylics.