Fresh Look: The Beguiling Beauty of Marbling

A guest blog by artist, Jill Seale

As a product designer I am always seeking inspiration…

Jill Seale, Artist and Product Designer

My Mom’s gorgeous Mid-Century china, a creamy turquoise with silver marbled through, grabbed my soul at first sight.  The untamed liquid pattern is varied from plate to plate, yet they gather in unison for a most beguiling statement. She outgrew entertaining, I absconded with the plates, promising my sister she could have everything else. There was no question that I must possess them as they possessed me. Then down the rabbit hole I went, collecting marbled papers.

While traveling to Florence, Italy to visit a friend, I was determined to learn how to marble. Florence remains a center for paper marbling, likely because it’s an easy gift from a tourist destination. My friend, who is a tour guide, arranged for me to take a quick ‘try-it’ experience.When that first drop of paint hit the water, I was positively bitten. Swirling the paints around with different tools is mesmerizing. I was in an artist flow, totally in the zone, the rest of the world around me evaporated as the paint danced on the water. It’s as if marbling and I been waiting all our lives to meet.I had to bring this art form into my life and others’ in a larger way.  I decided to return to Italy to spend months learning alongside a marbling master. What better place to study art than the birthplace of the Renaissance!

My friend had a connection to a retired book binder whom she cajoled into teaching me. He spoke no English, I speak no Italian, we both spoke the universal language of art and beauty.  I learned the chemistry, physics and techniques to understand how the paints behave.  He taught techniques and classic patterns. Another interesting aspect was his inclination to certain colors, much different than mine from years in product design for the gift industry…he looked to the Italian hillside for colors.

I tend to reach for more spirited colors and combinations, and I love what we’ve created for Company C, which is a good union of spirited movement and natural palette.When people ask me what I think about when I create a piece, I tell them that the process of marbling is entrancing – like watching a fire. I am completely present with what is happening in the marbling tray. A creative conversation takes place between artist and paints bringing a unique expression each time and I watch to capture it when it happens. The dance is organic and calming to the soul.

It is incredibly special for me be able to bring this beauty into spaces with Company C and our shared love of color and travel and gorgeous design. When I set out to create the exclusive rug designs for Company C, I looked to create modern centerpieces for the home using inspired colors. I wanted to create rugs that would speak to the home owner who would bring them into their own décor. The result? Each color palette translates into a unique statement piece.

The rugs are digitally printed, to preserve the intricate details of each design – truly art for the floor!

While marbling is ancient, an artist’s exploration of the art form and own personality brings new life to it. Another fascinating aspect of modern marbling is that technology allows it to go where it couldn’t before so marbling can be enjoyed in a much more prominent way than just on the shelves of the library. A new generation gets to enjoy it!

I hope you love all of the rugs I created especially for Company C!

Ciao!

Jill Seale

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