The Marbler's Apprentice

Home page Watercolor paints Metallic paints Suminagashi paints Paper samples Chemicals and supplies Researched techniques Classes Prices Ordering
Marbled Papers and Supplies

Welcome to our web site!

Our primary area of interest is the study of the pigments, materials and techniques that were used in the fabrication of marbled paper from its earliest introduction into Europe in the 16th century, through the 19th century. During much of this time, the watercolor paints were prepared in the marbling workshops by the marblers or their assistants. As part of our investigations, we began, and have continued to make paints using the pigments that would have been available to these marblers. These are the majority of paints offered here (Paints). These paints are prepared as they would have been in the 18th and 19th centuries; the techniques are taken from the classic marbling texts and other texts of those times. In addition to these paints, we also offer several pearlescent metallic watercolor paints and our own series of paints suitable for Japanese Suminagashi marbling.

The earliest documented marbling art form is Japanese Suminagashi, which dates to 12th century Japan, and involves the floating of pigment inks and paints on water. Traditionally this was done in black, but indigo and vermillion were also utilized, usually in combination with black ink. Contemporary suminagashi has incorporated other colors and several new techniques, including overmarbling and T. Kuroda's variation called Suimonga. We have available three traditional colors (black, indigo and red) suitable for these techniques that are prepared using a glue binder. More information can be found on the Suminagashi page.

We are actively involved in researching different aspects of marbling (Research), technical and historical. Reproducing some of the more unusual patterns of the 19th century, such as Tiger or Sun, Schroetel, Broken, and others is doubly frustrating because of difficulty obtaining the necessary materials, and because of the difficulty working out the techniques. We describe the necessary materials under Chemicals to enable others to have an easier time experimenting with these patterns. We also provide some formulas for the various Tiger patterns that have worked for us.

We specialize in eighteenth and early-mid nineteenth century patterns, particularly the chemically adjusted patterns dating to the first half of the nineteenth century: Shell, Stormont, Tiger eye, Schroetel, Romantic, and others. We can provide marbled paper for bookbinders, restorers and others. Examples can be seen on the Papers pages. Pricing is available upon request. We also offer a sample portfolio of 20 papers and a digital portfolio of 44 examples. Prices and options for ordering paints are shown on the Prices page. You can e-mail us if you are looking for something specific or have questions about patterns, techniques or paints.

Gretchen and Garrett Dixon. 11 Miller Avenue. Franklin, PA 16323. Tel: 814-657-2622. E-mail: dixong@verizon.net