Jude Riley

With no formal training in art or crafts, I came to marbling following a short career in Universities and Research Institutes both in the U.K. and overseas. My studio is at home in an isolated, old farmhouse not far from Aberystwyth where I have lived for nearly twenty years. Two rapidly growing children, my partner Ian (a hard working paramedic), a small flock of chickens, a productive vegetable garden and the constant urge to be marbling all combine to keep me very busy. It’s a lifestyle I wouldn’t change for all the tea in China.

The craft of marbling has a history spanning many centuries. It originated in Japan before spreading to China and along the trade routes to Europe via Persia and Turkey. Japanese Jude Rileymarbling, known as Suminagashi, produces very delicate patterns based on concentric circles. Its secrets were passed down for many centuries through just one family. In Persia and Turkey, figurative marbling or ‘Ebru’ was developed. Stunning images of flowers and butterflies are still produced by master marblers in Turkey today. The first records of marbling in Britain are from the early 17th century. Many people will be familiar with traditional marbled patterns commonly used in the binding of fine old books.

I base my techniques on traditional marbling methods. Colours are floated on a bath prepared from carrageen seaweed collected on the mid-Wales coast. The floating colours are then manipulated into an endless variety of patterns. Many are based on traditional designs but other freeform patterns, loosely based on Suminagashi, have a more contemporary feel. The floating design is lifted from the surface of the bath on a sheet of paper or a length of silk fabric.

The hand marbled paper and silk is used to produce a range of items including silk scarves and men’s ties, hand bound books and albums, greetings cards and very unusual paper jewellery.

The Products

Silk – Large square marbled scarves with a hand rolled hem and glamorous long scarves with a toning silk lining. All scarves can be gently hand washed. Men’s ties are hand made from lengths of marbled silk. Ties can be dry cleaned and each design is produced in a limited edition of only three.

Greetings cards – A range of hand marbled greetings cards, each including an original piece of hand marbled paper in its design. Many styles and sizes are produced with greetings in both Welsh and English. Each piece of marbled paper is different and many designs incorporate natural material such as pressed leaves flowers, so no two cards are exactly alike. All cards are blank inside and recycled card and envelopes are used wherever possible.

Hand-marbled paper jewellery – Marbled paper is stiffened and formed into elegant spirals or rolled into cylindrical beads, which form the basis for a very unusual range of jewellery. The paper elements are protected with an acrylic or a plastic coating before being combined with colourful glass, metal or semi-precious beads in original necklaces and earrings. The metal components are silver plated, gold plated or have a modern black finish. All ear wires are low nickel and comply with EU directives. Surgical steel or sterling silver ear wires can be fitted on request and 9ct gold ear wires can be supplied to order (3-4 weeks, £7 extra).