These past few weeks I have been lucky enough to spend time in the dye kitchen experimenting with this wonderful dye technique. Marbleizing, the blending of colors onto wool that uses no dye. The technique was invented over 15 years ago by Karen Kahle of Primitive Spirit. I still remember the day she called me to come see the amazing results produced by having colors bleed out onto each other, using no powdered dyes. The wool was breathtaking. Now, years later, as I marbleize my own wool, I am still ridiculously giddy and inspired by the results as I take the wools off the stovetop and unroll them in the sink, seeing the magic unfold before my very eyes.
I think what I love most about marbleized wool is the varied color changes that wash over the piece of wool. The base layer can totally change in color depending on what wools were layered next to it. The colors can be soft and muted, or dramatic. Each piece of wool is so versatile because of the coloration, with warm and cool colors that flow over it. Marbleized wool is most often reversible, one side can be very different than the other. Marbleized wool is perfect for blending wools, for a background or motif, because of the depth in color. Those subtle color changes in marbleized wool can be the "bridge wool" that blends readily with other colors, values and texture as you create your hooked rugs.
Look at this soft and romantic color combination. I am envisioning a light background with pink budded roses and greens for leaves, reminiscent of an old quilt pattern.
This color combination might be used with a dramatic red barn, smokey grey sky, and furrowed fields. The possibilities are endless!
Currently I am marbleizing wool for two classes that I will be teaching this year. The first class this coming May, with Shelley Lencioni, of I Love Rug Hooking. It will be a two day workshop May, 5 and 6. There is still room in that class, and she has more information posted on her website at iloverughooking.com under "Classes". This will be a fun workshop, nestled away at Shelley's Auburn California studio. I'm excited to teach, share some new patterns, and my dyed and marbleized wool.
The other class is a four day workshop in September in Texas. That class is already full. I hope to have more marbleized and dyed wool to add to my Etsy shop and for vending at some local Hook-Ins. Wow, I better get back into the dye kitchen!
While I adore the results of marbleized wool, there is a lot of work that goes into choosing the wools, preparing and processing. It takes a long time to get the wools rolled, tied, twisted and up to proper temp, without over processing the wool. It really does seem like magic that this beautiful wool is created without adding dyes. However, my tired feet and stiff back are a good reminder that as in all good things, effort and hard work bring about good results, NOT the flick of a magic wand!
Please check back to my ETSY site for patterns, new designs coming, and I hope marbleized and dyed wool too. Thank you!