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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Unchained marbley

Here's yesterday's tie, a hand-marbled number from China labelled "Brother" (or perhaps Drother?). While most hand-marbled ties have a more or less regular pattern, involving painstaking arrangement of the pigments, some are just free-form, like this one. I think I like it just as much; whereas regular patterns are awesome in the repetition of their geometry through ever-changing combinations and gradations of color, the devil-may-care feel of this randomness is exhilarating! Plus it reminds me of the weird rotating-fluid credit sequence from Ultraman.

Where does one get hand-marbled ties? Since the marbling process is done entirely by hand, they are not mass-produced, to my knowledge. There are a few marblers who sell their wares at craft fairs; I bought my first marbled tie from Jill Waggoner at an American Craft Council fair in Baltimore. The only tie marbler I know of with a website is Cosette of Austin, Texas; the site includes a concise description of the marbling process, examples of some of the different traditional marbling patterns, and of course ties, scarves, and more for sale. Moth Marblers of Sausalito, California, used to have a website, but no more. Some museum shops carry hand marbled ties (I have a couple from the Smithsonian, which I suspect were made by Cosette). Some other names to look for (and I'm just taking these from the labels of my ties) are Gail Mackenzie, Michael Kensinger, Kriska, Marblesque/Brian O'Malley, and Solace. I also have a tie by Galen Berry, who has a comprehensive website about marbling, though neckties do not feature on his "products for sale" page, sadly.

New hand-marbled ties generally sell for $40-$60, which is a great value for a vibrant, handmade work of art, especially when you consider that high-end "designer" neckties can cost $80-$150, and not have nearly as much pizzazz. Secondhand marbled ties are criminally undervalued; they don't show up often on eBay, but when they do they can be had for $15 or less (sometimes much less!). You won't see me selling any, though; just buying them!


Anonymous said...

I loved Ultraman


Burl Veneer said...

I never understood why Ultraman didn't just zap every monster with his death beam in the first place; he always went through a lot of grappling until his light started flashing, THEN he'd shoot'em. Wasted a lot of time, if you ask me.

Jeff L. said...

It's all about the foreplay. That, apparently, is why Kat goes for Ultraman.

gelgit said...

Well! I certainly did enjoy reading ALL of your blog about neckties...and could add several comments about marbling and marblers!! But, I am retired and moving on to other techniques and designs. Did you buy my ties at the Renwick or at a craft fair? (of which I used to do many). I was most intrigued about the heavy wool lining. Are you still collecting? Best regards, Gail

Burl Veneer said...

Dear Gail, thank you for stopping by and leaving such kind comments! I've bought your ties at craft fairs and on ebay. And yes, I am still collecting! I am chagrined that I haven't featured one of your ties on the blog yet, a situation I will remedy ASAP. What techniques are you working with now? Do you have any examples on the web? I'm eager to see what you've moved on to! Best, Burl Veneer